Breast cancer can affect how you feel about your body. Many treatments bring unwanted side effects which can result in unwanted physical changes to your body. Some of these changes might include the loss of a breast or breasts, weight gain or loss, hair loss and scarring.
As you respond to your changing body, it’s likely that your body image will change, too. For some people this isn’t a big deal. For others, it is critically important.
Body image is important to our emotional wellbeing. If the changes to your body make you feel less attractive, you may lose some confidence in yourself. If this happens, try to remember that you are not alone. It is an experience shared by many people who have treatment for breast cancer.
At first, because of the big change in my body, I felt very unsexy. I had only one breast and had put on weight. It certainly does something to your self-esteem.
Many people have told us they grieve for their lost breast(s) and their old body. While some people adjust quickly to their new bodies, others find it hard to come to terms with the changes.
For others, having a defined breast shape is not so important.
Everyone is different, and adjusting to these changes can take time.
After I had bilateral mastectomies I did not go for reconstruction or prostheses. I was happy to just be me, so I bought really nice camisole tops.
Body image can play a big role in how you feel about sex and your sexual wellbeing.
If you have had a mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), you may not feel as sexually attractive as you did prior to your surgery.
Breast cancer may also have left you with other visible reminders of your experience, such as weight gain or weight loss and hair loss.
Some people develop lymphoedema, which may cause your skin to feel tight and uncomfortable and may require you to wear a compression sleeve.
Fatigue can also be a concern following treatment.
These changes can result in a loss of confidence and a loss of interest in sex.
Initially, I felt that I was unattractive, even deformed. I worried that my husband wouldn’t love my body as before. He tells me over and over that he loves me even more now, so I ... have to get over it and just believe him.
Here are some tips that may help you deal with your changing body image:
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Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference 2019
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