Coping With Cancer: Self-Image

Coping With Cancer: Self-ImageWhen you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing cancer treatment, you will likely have both physical and emotional changes that can affect your self-image. The cancer specialists at our oncology center understand how difficult these changes can be for our patients. We want you to be fully informed of what you may experience and provide you with coping strategies.

Physical Changes

Depending on the type of cancer you have and the cancer treatment you are undergoing, you may find that it changes how you look. These changes may include:

  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Scars from surgery
  • A rash from drug therapies
  • Loss of an organ, limb, or breast
  • An osteotomy, which is a surgical procedure to allow waste to exit the body
  • Fatigue and loss of energy

Several of these changes will improve once your treatment is complete, but you may find that you feel self-conscious about how your body has changed. Know that it is completely normal to feel this way.

Emotional Impact

Dealing with a serious illness can also take a toll on your emotions. At our oncology clinic, we see patients experience a myriad of emotions from when they are diagnosed, as they go through cancer treatment, and after treatment is completed. You may feel a range of both negative and positive emotions:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness or a sense of being different from others
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Feeling out of control
  • A change in the way you think about yourself or a poor self-image
  • An appreciation for the strength of your body to get you through this illness
  • Peace
  • Gratitude
  • A realization that life is short
  • An appreciation that life is special
  • Grateful for new meaningful relationships with caregivers and other patients
  • Changing your priorities
  • More clarity about the meaning of your life and personal goals

How to Cope with Changes in Your Self-Image

If you are experiencing issues with your self-image, Pablo Verde Cancer Specialists suggests these coping strategies:

  • Be kind to yourself and take the time you need to adjust to your diagnosis and cancer treatment.
  • Talk to other people who are going through a similar circumstance so you won’t feel like you’re alone in this situation and realize that others experience the same feelings.
  • Stay connected to family and friends that will support you.
  • Ask for help with household needs and chores, so that you can focus on getting better.
  • Try to find humor in the little things in life. Laughter is always great therapy.
  • Try to do some physical activities that can help you feel better during treatment and participate in social activities. These activities will give you other things to focus on besides cancer.
  • Take control of what you can to empower yourself. If, for example, you know you are going to lose your hair, go out and buy an awesome wig, beautiful scarves, or even shave your head if that is what will make you feel better about yourself.
  • Talk to your health care team about possible reconstructive surgery, prosthetic devices, and cosmetic solutions.
  • Seek counseling to help you cope with your feelings about your self-image.

Talk to the Cancer Specialists at our Oncology Center Today

Please contact your care team at any of our locations to ask questions about any feelings you may be experiencing, or to schedule an appointment. Our cancer specialists are here to help with both your physical and emotional care. Together, we can work to overcome cancer.

Contact Us Now

SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT or seeking SECOND OPINION? Complete this form and we will contact you within 24-hours.