Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > Body Image After Cancer Treatment
How you feel about your body (your body image) may change when you have cancer. It is common to feel angry, frustrated, or disappointed after cancer surgery or during treatment for cancer. And it may be hard to adjust.
Changes that may affect a person's body image include:
Physical changes can include damage to or loss of nerves, blood vessels, or organs from the growth of the cancer or from the treatments to remove the cancer. Also, general pain, fatigue, and discomfort can result from cancer or cancer treatment.
Other concerns from cancer or cancer treatments may come up as you move on with your life. They may include stress, depression, confusion, or anxiety. Sometimes these problems are harder to deal with than the physical changes from having cancer.
Treatment for cancer may cause sexual problems. For example, nerve damage from surgery may affect a man's ability to have an erection.
Also, the stress of being diagnosed with cancer may affect other areas of your life, including your personal and sexual relationships. Some people may experience less sexual pleasure or lose their desire to be sexually intimate. Or a man or woman without a partner may feel unsure about dating because of having a history of cancer.
If sexual problems are bothering you, don't wait to get help. Talk to your doctor. And if your concerns involve a partner, talking openly with your partner may help.
Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or call 1-800-227-2345 to find a support group in your area. Talking with other people who have had similar feelings can be very helpful.
For more information about body changes and intimacy, read "Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment" from the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can find this booklet online at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/life-after-treatment.
Current as ofMarch 27, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineDouglas A. Stewart, MD, FRCPC - Medical Oncology
Current as of:
March 27, 2018
Medical Review:Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Douglas A. Stewart, MD, FRCPC - Medical Oncology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.