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 your self-esteem and how you view yourself. There’s no easy answer to help you accept all of the changes that are happening to you. However, learning about each one and finding ways to cope can help. 

Rest assured that there’s more to you than the outward appearance that you show to the world. Learning to accept your new appearance takes time, but it’s an important step in your recovery.

Here are some ideas to help you adapt to changes in your body image:

  • Go easy on yourself. It takes time to adjust to the changes in your body.
  • Look at yourself and get familiar with the changes you have experienced. Viewing and touching your body and sharing your feelings can help you feel more comfortable in time. Try to work toward viewing scars and other changes as necessary marks toward healing, recovery and a new life.
  • Explore options for breast reconstruction, nipple and areola tattooing, scar pigmentation or wearing a breast prosthesis (also called a breast form) to help achieve a sense of balance or wholeness.
  • Meet with a professional hair stylist to discover options for wearing a wig, turban, scarf or head wear to help you cope with hair loss. 
  • Talk about your concerns and feelings with your partner, your healthcare team or even a breast cancer survivor. 

Not every suggestion works for everyone. In time and with support, you will find what works best for you.

Looking for resources and support?

Virtua offers a range of support services to help ease and manage the side effects of cancer treatment, to help you look and feel your best during and after treatment, and to assist with your emotional needs, as well as your family’s. Learn more about our cancer support services, or call 888-847-8823 to consult with a Virtua breast reconstruction specialist.

Updated February 3, 2020

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