How to accept a changing body after a cancer diagnosis?

The ‘ body image is important, as is the way we think and feel about our body and how we think others see us.

The cancer and its treatment can change radically, sometimes temporarily other permanently: the loss of part of your body , the hair loss , the presence of scars , the ‘ gain or weight loss are some of the most common changes to deal with. Cancer can also cause changes that are not visible but have repercussions on ‘ image we have of him, as the loss of fertility .

Changing self-image is one of the most difficult challenges for those with cancer: it is normal to feel uncomfortable or unhappy with your body; feeling anxious and wanting to hide change; experiencing a  loss of femininity (or masculinity); no longer feeling what you once were. It takes time to adapt to changes in the body. But it is necessary to acknowledge this and gradually build a new image of oneself: this is why it is important not to escape the confrontation with change.

Avoiding looking at the parts of the body that have undergone a change (a scar , loss of a breast , an ostomy ), for example, is one of the most common reactions . But only by looking at and familiarizing yourself with the new can you begin the process of accepting change. This can be done gradually, perhaps with the support of health professionals , a psychologist or a loved one.

The first reaction might be one of shock and rejection , but these feelings usually subside as you get used to the change. Some patients are concerned about what others will think, but often this worry is a reflection of a lack of self-acceptance.

If this happens, don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for the support of a specialist. The acceptance of the body image is essential for one’s well-being and to face the disease with serenity .


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