All cancer survivors undergo a process of body image adaptation as the disease and treatment will alter the body and its functioning in some way. These changes may be temporary or long-lasting, can come about gradually or suddenly, and may or may not be visible to others. Examples of common body image issues include difficulties coping with scarring, hair loss, lymphedema, weight changes, functional changes to speech, swallowing, loss of limb, and much more.
Body image therapy can benefit individuals at any point during their treatment journey, including immediately after diagnosis, during active treatment, and into long-term survivorship. While goals for body image counseling will vary for each person, an array of empirically supported intervention strategies can be used to help:
- learn new coping strategies for managing body image concerns
- manage difficult emotions surrounding body image changes
- set realistic expectations for body image outcomes
- increase self-confidence in relationships and social situations
- gain greater long-term body image acceptance
Body image therapy services are available for individuals 18 years or older. With the exception of the initial consultation session which must be conducted in person, therapy may be delivered in person or virtually.