- With Mayo Clinic medical oncologist
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.Timothy Moynihan, M.D.
"As a practicing medical oncologist, I meet with patients and families every day to help manage their course through this disease called cancer. This experience provides unique insight into the needs of cancer patients, their families and loved ones and brings into sharp focus the need for reliable information to be readily available in terms that can be easily understood." — Dr. Timothy Moynihan
Dr. Timothy Moynihan believes that providing consumers with accurate, timely information on the broad, complex topic of cancer is the biggest challenge facing medical websites. As the guiding force behind our cancer content, he makes sure Mayo Clinic meets the test.
Dr. Moynihan, born in Las Vegas, N.M., and raised in Denver, is a consultant in medical oncology at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn. He's board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice and palliative care medicine.
He did his medical oncology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then went on to the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Regions Medical Center for seven years before moving to Mayo Clinic in 1999. Dr. Moynihan is medical director of the Mayo Clinic hospice.
Dr. Moynihan serves as the education chair for the Department of Oncology and the fellowship program director. Four times he has been selected as Teacher of the Year in medical oncology and elected to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame.
Past honors include distinguished clinical teacher at the University of Minnesota Medical School, best internist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and recipient of the Upjohn Achievement Award for Excellence in Medicine. Dr. Moynihan serves on several national committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
"The Internet provides a ready source of information on a wide range of topics of interest to those affected by cancer," Dr. Moynihan says. "The difficulty is trying to decide which sites provide reputable information and which information is relevant to each individual patient. The long history and tradition of excellence associated with Mayo Clinic assures you that information provided will be reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive."
- Chemotherapy and sex: Is sexual activity OK during treatment?
- Magic mouthwash: Effective for chemotherapy mouth sores?
- Ginger for nausea: Does it work?
- see all in Cancer
Chemotherapy and sex: Is sexual activity OK during treatment?
Is it safe to have sex with my husband while undergoing chemotherapy?
from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
It's best to discuss any concerns about chemotherapy and sex with your doctor, who's familiar with your individual situation. In general, however, it's usually OK to have sex while undergoing chemotherapy — as long as you're feeling up to it.
Many factors can influence decisions about chemotherapy and sex. Here are some things to consider:
- What type of cancer do you have? Cancers involving the genital tract may require special caution when it comes to sex. After a procedure or therapy that affects the genital tract, your doctor may recommend abstaining from sexual activity until healing is complete.
What type of chemotherapy are you receiving? Some types of chemotherapy can lead to changes in the lining of the vagina, which may make vaginal injuries more likely during intercourse. During intercourse, normal bacteria that live on the skin or in the genital tract may be introduced into your bloodstream.
If your chemotherapy reduces the levels of your germ-fighting white blood cells, you may not be protected from these bacteria. Your doctor may recommend you avoid sexual intercourse until your white blood cell counts rise to safe levels.
If chemotherapy causes a low platelet count, intercourse could cause bleeding. If your platelet count is extremely low, severe bleeding could occur.
- Could you become pregnant? Pregnancy is discouraged during chemotherapy, due to the potential effects on the developing baby. If conception is possible, your doctor will likely encourage you to choose a reliable method of birth control.
- Are you feeling up to it? During chemotherapy, fatigue or other side effects may decrease your interest in sex. If you're not interested in intercourse, remember that there's more to an intimate relationship than sex. Look for other ways to express affection, such as kissing, cuddling or other shared activities.
Magic mouthwash: Effective for chemotherapy mouth sores?
- Sex and chemotherapy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/sexualsideeffectsinwomen/sexualityforthewoman/sexuality-for-women-with-cancer-chemo. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 8, 2013.