Changes in appearance

For women, any change in appearance after breast surgery may affect self-esteem and feelings of femininity. It is normal to experience sadness and grief after losing a breast or breasts, or losing your hair.

Try to focus on yourself as a whole person and not just on the part of you that has changed. It may take some time to get used to seeing and feeling the differences in your body. Some women find that having a breast reconstruction or wearing a breast prosthesis improves their self-confidence. Other women prefer to concentrate on accepting the changes in their body without having breast reconstruction or wearing a prosthesis.

Look Good Feel Better is a free program that teaches techniques to help you feel more confident in your appearance and improve self- confidence. Call 1800 650 960 for more information.

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Listen to our podcast on Sex and Cancer

Breast prostheses

Breast prostheses are synthetic breasts or parts of a breast worn inside a bra or attached to the body with adhesive. They help give the appearance of a real breast and can be used after breast surgery.

Temporary prosthesis − In the first month or two after surgery, you may choose to wear a temporary light breast prosthesis called a soft form. This will be more comfortable next to your scar. A free bra and soft forms are available through Breast Cancer Network Australia as part of the My Care Kit. Ask your breast care nurse to order you a kit.

Permanent prosthesis − Your breast surgeon or breast care nurse will discuss the best time for you to be fitted for a permanent breast prosthesis. This is usually once your scar has healed. A permanent breast prosthesis is usually made from silicone and has the shape, feel and weight of a natural breast. It can help you to maintain good posture and prevent neck and back problems. It is recommended that you see a trained fitter who can help you choose the right prosthesis. To find out where you can get fitted for a prosthesis, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or ask your breast care nurse.

For more on this, see Breast Prostheses and Reconstruction.


If you lose your hair during chemotherapy treatment, you may want to wear a wig, scarf, turban or hat while it’s growing back. Another option is to leave your head bare.

You can borrow a wig – some hospitals and cancer care units provide wigs for free or a small fee. Your local Cancer Council may also provide a wig service. You can also buy a wig, although some types can be expensive. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or ask your treatment team for more details about borrowing or buying wigs. Some private health cover part of the cost of wigs – check with your health fund.

For more on this, see Hair Loss.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Breast Prostheses and Reconstruction

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in August 2018
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Life after cancer treatment
Support groups, programs and webinars for people who have finished treatment

Cancer information

Managing sexual changes – men and women
Includes tips for coping with changes in appearance and loss of a body part

Physical effects and emotions
How to manage emotions when cancer treatment has caused physical changes

The role of partners
Tips for maintaining intimacy when your partner has had cancer treatment