Your self-image is an important view of yourself that drives your self-confidence, thoughts and behaviors. After cancer diagnosis and during cancer treatment you experience many physical and emotional changes. These changes affect your self-image, temporarily or permanently.
Cancer and associated treatments change your looks. Many people going through cancer diagnosis and treatment feel self-conscious or even embarrassed about their physical changes, including:
There are medical options for restoring your self-image after cancer, if these fit your type of cancer. Some of these options include reconstructive surgery, prostheses and cosmetic solutions. Support groups, cancer networks, treatment professionals, psychologists and even close friends can help you cope with your physical changes. Always ask your treatment team for help when you need it, including information about ways to help you relieve your symptoms or emotional struggles with your body changes. Remember that many of these changes improve or resolve over time after your cancer treatment is done.
Just as cancer changes your body, it also changes your emotions. In fact many areas of your life change, including your relationships, work and personal interests. Sometimes it takes time to deal with these changes on top of concern for the future and your survivability. Emotions commonly experienced after cancer diagnosis and during treatment include:
The good news is that people going through cancer diagnosis and treatment often experience very positive changes, including:
After cancer you may feel temporarily lost in how you view yourself and your body. Below are some tips for adjusting after cancer affects your self-image:
Remember to keep an open line of communication with your treatment team regarding side effects and emotional well-being. How you feel about yourself plays a significant role in your cancer recovery and return to a healthy, happy life. When you realize you need help, support or guidance during and after cancer treatment, talk to your doctor for that help.