Body Image and Loss Concerns

Some women facing a breast cancer diagnosis, especially those choosing surgery options and/or chemotherapy, have concerns about a loss of confidence about the way you will look and how attractive you will feel. The media and our culture tells us that breasts and hair are symbols of being feminine and being a woman. Here are some ways to cope with these concerns. If you need someone to talk to, please contact our Client Services Coordinator, Janet Dees, at (205) 990-5367 or [email protected]. She can match you with someone who has been where you are, connect you to a support group, or provide you with free mental health counseling.

  • Take time to grieve over the upcoming loss or change in your body. Mourn your loss, it is real and you have a right to grieve.
  • Try to focus on ways that coping with cancer has made you stronger, wiser, and more realistic.
  • Recognize that you are more than your cancer.
  • If you have are planning chemotherapy, know that hair regrowth is gradual over a period of about six months. Over time, your hair will look a lot like it did before cancer. Some women notice a change in their hair texture or color (you’ve probably heard the term “chemo curl”), so you might want try out new cuts or styles.
  • Although you may view your body in a different way, don’t assume that your spouse or partner sees things the same way you do. Your spouse or partner cares for you as the whole person, not for each body part. Spend time together to discuss your concerns about body image. Some women don’t want their spouse or partner to see their scars or breasts after surgery. If you feel this way, take some time to explore these feelings and discuss them with your spouse or partner.

 

Useful websites:
Breast Cancer and Your Body Image
Accepting the Nude You