We aimed to quantify the association between a previous cancer diagnosis and medication use, depicting possible sex differences. We analysed data from a representative sample of the Portuguese adult population (n=32 610), which was collected through face-to-face interviews, using a structured questionnaire. The effect of a previous diagnosis of cancer was quantified through prevalence ratios (PR), adjusted for age, education and region of residence. Cancer survivors (CS) reported higher use of prescribed medication, with greater adjusted PR among men (1.25 vs. 1.13, P for interaction=0.001). Compared with the general population, male CS reported higher use of drugs for sleep problems, allergies and antibiotics, whereas female CS reported greater consumption of drugs for depression, anxiety, sleep problems and pain. This study contributes towards understanding sex disparities in the impact of cancer survival on medication use.