Physical Changes and Fear of Relapse
Your body image is how you feel about the way you look. Cancer and its treatment can change how you look and feel about yourself. Coping with these changes are a part of dealing with cancer.
Common body changes from cancer
● Weight loss or Weight Gain
● Hair loss
● Scars from Surgery, loss of a body part
● Pain or Swelling
At times, you could feel self-conscious or ashamed about changes in your body even if no one can see them, but you might also notice some positive changes.
● Appreciate your body’s ability to tolerate treatment and recover
● Discover that your weight or body shape matters less than before
● See your scars as signs of courage and survival
● Feel inspired to make healthy lifestyle changes
Coping with changes to your body
● Ask your doctor what to expect before treatment starts. This can help you mentally prepare ahead of time. You can also do practical things, such as cutting your hair or buying hats if you are likely to lose your hair.
● Ask other people how they adjusted to body changes.
● Joining a support group and talking to cancer survivors can help.
● Be prepared for questions and comments about your appearance. Think about how you will respond. If you prefer not to talk about it, tell people that it’s personal.
● Remember that cancer cannot take away your personality, interests, or talents. You might even discover a new talent or strength.
● Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Avoid alcohol
● Exercises- Sometimes, you might not be able to do all the activities that you did before cancer. But there may be new types of exercise and activities for you to explore. Trying a new activity can help you gain confidence in your body.
Fear of relapse
Fear of relapse is extremely common and very normal. In fact, the fear of relapse
happens for any illness, no matter the seriousness. Of course, the more serious the
illnesses the scarier the feeling, however this is very solvable.
Focus on the present moment- We tend to live most of our time mentally in the
past or the future, but the key is to focus on now. Every time you go back to the past or
try to anticipate the future, bring yourself back to the now. Make this a habit and it will
soon become natural. So how do you bring yourself back to the present moment?
Utilize your senses, see and contrate on what’s in front of you. Listen to the sounds
around, smell, taste, touch and bring yourself back to where you are right now.
Do not presume anything- If we feel a little bit of discomfort or symptom, we
start fearing the worst. Presuming it could be something related to cancer. Why do I
feel like this? This doesn’t feel natural. Is the cancer back? What if it is, how will I get
through it this time? Are some thoughts that flood our mind at the time, but these are all
presumptions that will only create panic and at most times than not, are false.
It’s wiser to be aware and mindful of any symptom and get expert opinion before making any assumption.
These two practices sound easier said than done, but does wonders once it becomes
natural and it will only become natural when it’s practiced diligently.
Tags: cancer relapse, physical concern, body image, changes in body, post cancer concerns, acceptance, cancer survivors, cancer support group, cancer recovery, healing from cancer, exercise, cancer diet, quality of life, post cancer lifestyle, cancer journey, cancer survivor, fear