Changes in your appearance

Side effects from surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may cause you to look different and change the way you feel about yourself.

You may feel less confident about who you are and what you can do. It is normal to feel self-conscious when you return to work. Give yourself time to adapt to any changes.

       − Ann

Tips for overcoming self-consciousness

  • Talk about the changes. If you don’t openly acknowledge that you look different, people may avoid you because they don’t know what to say.
  • Consider asking your manager to raise the issue of your appearance with your colleagues if you feel uncomfortable talking about it.
  • Be prepared for colleagues to ask questions.
  • Try not to get angry or flustered by questions that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Answer questions directly or say that you would prefer not to discuss it.
  • Wear a wig, beanie, cap or scarf if you’ve lost your hair and feel uncomfortable being bald at work. Some state and territory Cancer Councils offer a free wig service – call 13 11 20 for more details.
  • Contact Look Good Feel Better, a free program to help with changes in appearance.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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