Breast Cancer and Body Image
Breast cancer and its treatments can affect your body image. Surgery that removes part or all of your breast can impact how you feel about your body while many treatments cause complete or partial hair loss. This is often a very difficult time emotionally, and many patients are not prepared for the impact of these body changes. These experiences can affect your psychological outlook and experience. Getting support from a psychologist or oncology social worker who is familiar with the impact of breast cancer and its treatments can help strengthen your existing coping strategies and help you develop new ones particular to the cancer experience. A breast cancer support group with others going through similar experiences can also be a good source of support. In addition, it is important to get help with achieving the outward appearance that feels most comfortable to you as well. For this, there are many great products to assist patients with appearance-related changes.
Breast prostheses help a woman who has lost a breast look more natural and balanced. Additionally, there are inserts that help achieve a similar look for women who had lumpectomies. Special mastectomy bras have pockets inside the cup to hold a prosthesis stay securely in place, giving a woman a greater level of comfort and confidence. They also provide a comfortable backing when worn. The key to choosing the bra that’s best for the patient is to find one that is comfortable and fits properly. Having a certified fitter with experience can make all the difference. There are many attractive bras that come in varying colors that are available, so look does not need to be sacrificed for function. For hair loss, there are different types of hair alternatives and head coverings to consider. Some options include wigs, hats, caps, and scarves. Wigs can be made of synthetic or human hair and come in all sorts of styles and colors. Synthetic wigs have the advantage of being styled, holding their shape and being easy to care for. All wigs can easily be cut and trimmed by a trusted stylist to create a look that is desired. Hats, caps and scarves provide an added element of warmth on the head as well as being fashionable. Made from an assortment of colors and materials, patients are able to choose from a wide range of products to give them different looks.
At the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, we provide a safe environment where women and men can find products to help manage the physical appearance changes brought about by cancer and its treatment. Reflections Boutique, a program of the Simms/Mann Center, provides a range of services oriented toward optimizing wellness after a cancer diagnosis. Some of the products sold include breast prostheses, mastectomy bras, post-surgical bras, wigs, scarves, hats, and caps. With skilled and compassionate staff to provide information and assistance with personal appearance concerns, Reflections is able to provide a setting where you are treated with respect, privacy, and support. For more information on the Reflections Boutique, go to: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/?p=413
The Simms/Mann UCLA Center provides monthly lectures on cancer topics that are free to the public. They are meant to educate patients and family/friends who want to understand their struggles better and learn about current studies on cancer topics. Breast cancer is a topic covered every year. To find out more about how the treatment of breast cancer has evolved over time, watch our most recent lecture on video titled “Breast Cancer Treatment: Past, Present, and Future” by Dr. Rena Callahan. https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/?p=2187
Interested in attending our next breast cancer lecture? Join us as Dr. John A. Glaspy from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA presents the most updated information on breast cancer treatments and changing strategies. This lecture will take place on March 10th, 2015 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Auditorium with a Q&A segment at the end of the lecture for attendees. For more details, go to: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/?p=4431