Body image and breast cancer

We know that breast cancer often brings with it body image and intimacy challengesBreast cancer treatments mean physical changes, some of which can have a detrimental effect on self-confidence and intimate relationships.

We also know that some people are reluctant to talk about these issues because they seem trivial compared to a life-threatening diagnosis. But we believe everyone should have access to the information and support they need, when they need it, to help them cope with altered body image and its legacy after breast cancer.

I felt really low about myself. People expect you to be happy because you are not dying but I felt so challenged. I was only 36 and felt like I was living a lie. I still feel a bit like this. I might look good on the outside but if I took my clothes off, I’d just have to be brave.

Lorna, 45

What we want

We’re calling on cancer policymakers, service planners and commissioners in England, Scotland and Wales to address these issues in a number of ways, including the following:

  • making sure that everyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer has a holistic needs assessment that includes questions on body image and intimacy, at both diagnosis and following treatment
  • improving access for patients and their partners to specialist information and support about altered body image and its potential impact on relationships and intimacy

How you can help

Watch and share our body image video

Watch and share our video to highlight the impact of breast cancer on body image and raise awareness of the support we provide.

Read and share the My body, Myself report

Our report includes real-life stories about how breast cancer affects body image and relationships. It details the information and support people want, and recommends service improvements.

PDF icon Read the reportĀ Ā»

Read Ismena's, Heather's and Jill's stories

Many women need extra support in dealing with the impact breast cancer can have on the way a woman feels about her body. Read about three women who found their own way to face this challenge. 

Ismena's story

A woman with a tattoo over her mastectomy scar

Ismena chose not to have breast reconstruction following breast cancer treatment.

Heather's story

Breast cancer treatment has changed the way Heather's body looks.

Jill's story

A woman who had a mastectomy faces the camera

Having chemotherapy had a large impact on how Jill felt about her appearance.

Get the latest breast cancer updates

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