- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Coping with side effects
- Changes in how you look
Changes in how you look
Side effects from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may change the way you look. You may be upset or feel embarrassed about these changes. You may also be 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 get used to any changes.
Tips for improving confidence
- 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.
- Ask your manager to discuss your appearance with co-workers if you don’t feel comfortable doing it.
- Be prepared for co-workers to ask questions.
- Answer questions directly or say that you would prefer not to discuss it.
- Set boundaries for any topics or questions that make you uncomfortable.
- Consider 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. They also have Home-Delivered Confidence Kits and online workshops available.
I did the Look Good Feel Better program before treatment. It helped me prepare mentally for losing my hair during chemotherapy.Ann
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Brooke Russell, Principal Occupational Therapist, WA Cancer Occupational Therapy, WA; Bianca Alessi, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Prunella Blinman, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; James Chirgwin, Physiotherapist, The Wesley Hospital, QLD; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Simon Gates, Barrister, Tasmanian Bar, TAS; Justin Hargreaves, Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Kaylene Jacques, Director, People and Communications, Cancer Council NSW; Alex Kelly, Senior People Attraction Advisor, Human Resources, Allianz Australia Insurance, NSW; Legal reviewer; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health, VIC; Lesley McQuire, Consumer, Cancer Voices NSW.
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