How can physical changes from cancer affect my body image?

Cancer survivors who experience temporary or permanent physical changes to their bodies may be at risk for having a poor body image as they learn to adjust to changes in their bodies. The effects of a temporary physical change on your body image may last for a short time. A permanent physical change may have a more lasting effect on your body image.

Examples of temporary changes that can affect your body image:
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
Examples of permanent changes that can affect your body image:
  • Amputations, such as, limbs or mastectomies where prostheses
           can be fitted
  • Permanent stomas, e.g. colostomy or ileostomy (an opening on the
           abdomen created surgically to empty contents of bowel into
           a bag)
  • Infertility
  • Scars from surgery or tattoo markings from radiation fields