Talking about your body changes

People often feel they have to appear to cope well and put on a brave face. They might worry that they can't let people know how they really feel about the changes to their body as they may appear ungrateful. This can mean that the real impact of the changes, such as anger, anxiety and sadness isn't talked about.

Sometimes people think more about other peoples' needs than their own and this can also stop them from talking about their own experiences.

We usually keep our thoughts and feelings about our bodies private and we don't discuss them openly with other people. You may feel too embarrassed and awkward to say how you really feel. But keeping your feelings to yourself can stop you doing things you enjoy or getting the right help.

It can help to talk about your feelings with someone you feel comfortable with and can trust. One way to start a conversation may be to write down your questions or concerns and show them to your health professional. It can also help to write down their answers as it can be difficult to remember everything discussed.

You may find it useful to speak to someone who has had a similar experience to you. Many areas offer 'buddy systems' or have support groups. Or you may prefer to share your experiences, ask questions and get support from others via the internet. See healthtalkonline.org or Macmillan's own community at macmillan.org.uk/community.

Back to Body image after treatment

How body changes might affect you

Physical changes to your body or appearance can be difficult to deal with.

Taking control

Take control to help you feel more confident socially following changes to your body.

Tips on managing day to day

It can be difficult to talk about your body changes. There are ways you can prepare for awkward questions.

Tips on changing your thought pattern

If you are always thinking negatively about your body or appearance, there are ways to help you think more positively.

Emotional effects of body changes

Physical changes to your body can sometimes make you feel angry, anxious or depressed. There are things you can do to help.

Effects on your sex life

Cancer treatment may affect your sex life. It can be helpful to get advice from a specialist.