Your body image

Living with and being treated for ovarian cancer can result in changes to your body that may also affect your body confidence.

Surgery can cause:

  • Scarring
  • Pain
  • Hormonal changes and menopause
  • Loss of fertility
  • A stoma (a surgically created opening on your abdomen to allow waste to exit the body)

Chemotherapy can cause:

  • Hair loss
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Changes to your body can affect your self-esteem and body confidence.

And how you feel about your body can have a knock-on effect on how you feel about your relationships and other areas of your life.

Many women recovering from ovarian cancer say they experience a 'new normal' and it can take time to feel confident again. 

What can help me?

  • Talk to your medical team before treatment begins. Having a clear idea of the body changes you can expect may help you to prepare
  • Be prepared for questions about your appearance. Family and friends may ask questions like, 'Are you going to lose your hair?' Having thought about how you will respond will make it easier if the question is asked. If you prefer not to talk about it, it's okay to let people know.
  • Take on a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle changes such as exercise, good nutrition, meditation and complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology, acupuncture or massage can help to manage feelings of stress
  • Open up. Talking about how you're feeling can help you to explore what's going on for you. This might be with a trusted family member or friend or you may wish to talk to a counsellor - your GP practice will be able to refer you for therapy.