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

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.