The pressure on how you look
These days, there’s a lot of emphasis on how we look, and we are surrounded by images of attractive, healthy and perfect bodies. But the pictures we see in newspapers, magazines, on television and on the internet are often not realistic.
Many celebrity photographs are ‘airbrushed’ to make them look better. This ‘ideal’ image is usually not possible for anyone, whether they have a cancer diagnosis or not.
It’s common for women - even from a young age - and it’s becoming more and more common for men, to be unhappy with the way they look. More people are trying to improve things they don’t like through plastic surgery, weight loss, intense exercise programmes or by buying products.
It’s natural to have concerns about your body image from time to time, but you may feel more sensitive after cancer treatment that has caused a change to your body:
You may be embarrassed about the change and don’t want people to make a fuss about it.
You may worry about how it will affect your relationships with your partner, family, friends or work colleagues.
You may worry about how it will influence meeting new people, starting a relationship or getting a new job.
You may be concerned about questions other people might ask.
These feelings are quite normal when coming to terms with changes to your body. However for some people, these concerns may cause anxiety and even depression.
There is professional support available to help you adjust to and live with permanent body changes, if you need it. It may also help to share your experience with other people who are affected in a similar way. We have an online community where people can share their worries and thoughts at any time.
How we look is important to many of us. But our character and personality are just as important and are part of our attractiveness to other people.