Changes in appearance

It’s common to feel anxious about the physical changes caused by treatment, including: loss of hair from the head and body; weight loss or weight gain; skin rashes; removal of a body part and use of a prosthesis; swelling of part of the body (lymphoedema); having a stoma; and scars. For more on this, see Removal of a body part.

Some cancers of the head and neck can cause significant changes to the way you speak, eat or breathe. This can be upsetting because the change is visible, and kissing, speech and eating may be affected.

The way you look may affect how you feel about yourself. Changes to your appearance may make you feel less attractive, and this can affect your sexual confidence, self-esteem and body image. You may worry about other people’s reactions to you. It takes time to adjust to changes in appearance.

Look Good Feel Better program

This free two-hour program teaches men, women and teens how to use skin care, hats and wigs to help restore appearance and self-esteem during and after treatment. Call 1800 650 960 or visit Look Good Feel Better for more information and to book into a workshop.

   — Daphna


Tips for adjusting to appearance changes

  • Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge how you are feeling.
  • Look at and touch your scars so you get used to the changes.
  • Give yourself time to get used to any physical changes. Some changes may be temporary and will improve with time.
  • Focus on yourself as a whole person and not just the part of you that has changed.
  • Remember that sexual attraction is based on a mix of emotional and physical factors, not on a single body part or another physical characteristic.
  • Use clothing, make-up or accessories to highlight your best features.
  • Choose well-fitting clothes. Wearing something too tight or too baggy will draw attention to your weight loss or gain.
  • If your hair has fallen out, you can wear a hat, wig or scarf, or you may prefer to leave your head uncovered. See Hair Loss or call 13 11 20 to ask about a wig service in your area.
  • Show your partner any body changes before sexual activity. This may allow both of you to get used to how the differences make you feel.
  • If you feel uncomfortable about a part of your body, you can wear clothes to cover it during sex – e.g. if you’ve had breast surgery you may choose to wear a camisole. You may also prefer to avoid sexual positions that leave the area exposed.
  • Dim the lights when you have sex until you feel more confident about your body.
  • Talk to your doctor about the possibility of plastic surgery or a facial prosthesis if you have had a significant change in your facial appearance from surgery or radiation therapy. This may help you regain a more natural appearance and help with changes in speech.
  • See a counsellor to help you adjust to the changes.

Listen to our podcast on Sex and Cancer


Click on the icon below to download a PDF on Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer.


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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: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

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: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

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: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

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 http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

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 May 2019
View who reviewed this content
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