Body changes may cause you to have concerns about your body image. This may start before or during your treatment, or you may not think about it until later.
Everyone’s reaction is different. Some people may feel more self-conscious about their body but find it manageable. Or you may find your concerns are on your mind a lot of the time and find this upsetting.
Body image concerns may make you feel:
- less confident
- anxious about people’s reactions to you
- worried about going out and meeting people
- as if you’ve lost a part of yourself or aren’t the person you used to be
- worried about your relationship or about starting a new relationship
- less feminine or less masculine.
You may also feel angry, anxious or sad. These are normal feelings when you’re coping with cancer and body changes. You may feel as if you are grieving for what you have lost.
Talking openly with people you trust can be the best way forward. This could be your family or close friends, or your cancer doctor or nurse. Talking to another person who has been through something similar can also help. There are different types of support to help you cope with your feelings.
But you may also find you come to value how your body has coped. Some people see their body changes as signs of their survivorship. It can also be good to know that people appreciate you for who you are, not for your appearance.