- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Coping with side effects
- Changes in your appearance
Changes in your appearance
Side effects from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may change the way you look. You may be distressed or embarrassed about these changes. You may also 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.
I did the Look Good Feel Better program before treatment. It helped me prepare mentally for losing my hair during chemotherapy.
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 co-workers if you feel uncomfortable talking about it.
- Be prepared for co-workers 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.
- Consider registering for a Look Good Feel Better workshop to help you manage treatment-related changes in appearance. Call 1800 650 960 or visit their website.
Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW. We would also like to than the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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