Coping with Body Changes After Breast Cancer Treatment

Coping with Body Changes After Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer treatment can result in many physical changes: loss of a breast, loss of hair, scars on the body, weight changes and skin changes.  All of these can affect how you view yourself and your self-esteem.  There is no easy answer to help you accept all of the changes that are happening to you.  However, learning about each one and ways to cope can help.  Not every suggestion will work for every person. In time, you will find ways that work for you.

There are no right or wrong answers. Remember that there is more to you than the outward appearance that you show to the world.  Learning to accept the new you is an important step in recovery.

General guidelines to help you cope with body image changes

  • Go easy on yourself. It takes time to adjust to your new body.
  • Look at yourself and the changes that have happened to your body.  Viewing and touching your body and sharing your feelings can help you feel more comfortable in time. Learn to view them as necessary marks toward healing, recovery and a new life.
  • You can explore options for breast reconstruction or wearing a prosthesis to help achieve a sense of balance or wholeness.
  • You can explore options for wearing a wig, turban, scarf or head wear to help hide your hair loss. 
  • Attend the Look Good ... Feel Better class at the Virtua Cancer Program. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this free program helps female cancer patients overcome the appearance-related effects of treatment.
  • Talk about your concerns and feelings with your partner, your healthcare team or even a breast cancer survivor.

Updated May 3, 2017

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