Body image is important to all of us, and any changes to our body can really affect how we think and feel about ourselves.

Credit: Boots

Credit: Boots

Dany Bell, Treatment and Recovery Specialist Advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support explains:

Cancer is not always life threatening, but it is life changing. The physical side effects of treatment, such as hair loss, changes to your weight, and scarring, can cause you to have negative thoughts about your body image, or just make you feel not yourself.”

While these feelings are common for many people living with cancer, they shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. Acknowledging the effect they are having on your confidence and seeking support will help you feel less alone and alleviate your worries.

Here, Dany Bell, Treatment and Recovery Specialist Advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support, shares her advice on things you can do to boost your self-confidence if you’re living with cancer.

Talk about how you feel

Negative feelings about your body image are really normal if you’re going through cancer, but they’re definitely not something you should brush off because you feel your main worry should be your health.

Sharing how you feel with your friends, family or someone you trust can often take the strain off, and help you realise that you’re still the same person you always were, even if your body has changed.

Be kind to yourself

Cancer affects everyone differently, but if the changes happening to your body are making you feel anxious there are ways to manage this. Eating well and getting enough calories, exercising regularly, resting when needed, and continuing to do the things you enjoy can all help with your physical and mental wellbeing.

Some people also find mindfulness activities, having a massage, or doing some relaxing yoga will help calm their mind.

Ask for advice from your healthcare team

Discussing any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare team, including those related to how a particular treatment might affect your body, will help you feel informed.

Your healthcare team can also prepare you for the potential side effects of a particular treatment, and give you advice on how you might ease these.

Seek some tips from an expert

Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors are trained to give free, face-to-face advice to help you cope with visible side effects of cancer treatment. They can advise on everything from how to define sparse brows and lashes, caring for nails that are suddenly more brittle, or minimising dark circles around the eyes. You can find your nearest advisor online and drop in for a visit – no appointment needed.

Don’t underestimate the power of peer-to-peer support

If you or a loved one is dealing with cancer, Macmillan’s Online Community is a place you can talk to others who understand what you are going through. Many say hearing from others who are going through similar experiences helps them feel less alone. The online community is also a safe space if you want to share fears and emotions that might be difficult to discuss with family and friends.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Boots UK have been working together for ten years, to be right there for more people living with cancer. Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors and Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists can be found in many Boots stores, and have been specially trained by Macmillan to provide face-to-face advice and information to help people feel more like themselves again. To find out more visit

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