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Seeking Support Helps 'Normalize the Ambivalence' Felt With Body Image, Self Perception During Cancer

Although patients with cancer may feel both grateful and grief towards their bodies, one expert emphasizes how important seeking support from a professional can be throughout this process.

Publication: CURE Today

Some physical changes that patients undergo throughout their cancer journey are visible like hair loss during chemotherapy, for example, which are often expected by both patients and the people around them. But the physical impacts of cancer can go beyond this and impact a patient’s perception of themselves.

“We can think of the physical changes in regards to their body image, for example, if a woman has a mastectomy or double mastectomy, or even fatigue, weight loss or those things that maybe aren’t even as visible to others but can impact (a patient’s) self perception, which ultimately impacts their body image,” said Stephanie B. Broussard, LCSW-S, APHSW-C, director of social work and palliative care at Texas Oncology, in an interview with CURE®.

A recent survey conducted by Texas Oncology assessed the impact of body image and self perception in 150 current and former patients with cancer.

“I think that's one of the things that the survey found was that we had respondents that were really shocked by the physical impact and the side effects of cancer in regards to the long-term impact on their life and perception, which ultimately impacted their emotional well being,” Broussard said.

Read the full article at CURE Today.