- Question from Shelley: I'm 36 and just completed treatment in January. I used to feel attractive but since the cancer I have lost my self esteem. Weight gain, scarred body, short hair — I don't know this person and I'm single and want to date. Any suggestions?
- Answers - Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. You've been through a lot in the past months. Many of the things that you are feeling are certainly understandable. Many people describe their cancer experience as a journey, and feelings can change many times at many points along this journey. It's important to have a strong support network and people you can talk to about how you're feeling. Dating can be difficult under any circumstance. Some people find more comfort, especially initially, in group situations. Hopefully as you heal from your recent experiences, you will find yourself able to reclaim your self-esteem and appreciate your beauty.
- Lynn Schuchter Although this is something that is said often, time does heal. It is remarkable how different you will feel and look six months from now. I think there's no other cancer that at the time of diagnosis and treatment affects a person so much at the core of who they are. For a woman diagnosed with breast cancer, she may have extensive surgery on the breast, experience hair loss, go into menopause — so many things in such a short time. So it's an assault at every level. But you really will heal, and your cancer can be a turning point where you are actually better at the end of all this. It's remarkable that this occurs, but one can prioritize things in one's life. You will get back to yourself, and maybe at a better place. There's often fear at the end of treatment. I really believe you will feel better. It's nice that it's spring and a time of renewal outside, and I hope you find that renewal internally as well. In my experience and Dr. Armstrong's experience, we're in awe of you and what you're able to experience. It's remarkable what you're able to do, and we wish you good courage and great strength, and wish you well.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Young Women and Breast Cancer feautred Lynn Schuchter, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about the special concerns of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2006.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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