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How you might feel after diagnosis

Cancer treatment can change the way you feel about yourself (your self-esteem). You may feel less confident about who you are and what you can do. This is more common if your body has changed physically, but even if it has not.

Dealing with the cancer diagnosis and the treatment can make you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. You may not be able to imagine yourself being in a sexual situation after what has happened to your body. If you are single, you may feel anxious about initiating a new relationship. You may feel angry if you are now unable to have children.

These feelings are common, and can affect your self-esteem and your attitude towards intimacy. It will help to talk about how you feel with your partner or other women who have had cancer.

Some people find that physical activities – sports, dancing classes, exercise – improve their body image. Creative activities such as painting, playing music, and craft can also increase your self-confidence.

Coping with changes in appearance

Changes in your appearance after cancer treatment can affect how you see yourself (body image). Body image may not depend on how you look but how you think you look. A change in body image may not affect your ability to have sex but it may make you feel less sexual.


  • Give yourself time to adapt to what you’ve been through.
  • Draw attention to your good points with clothing, make-up or accessories.
  • Consider wearing a scarf or wig if your hair has fallen out from chemotherapy.
  • Try to stay active and exercise as regularly as you can.