Appearance and Body Image
| Coping with Physical Changes
Physical Changes Resources
The following resources are offered to help you with learn about and better cope with the physical effects of cancer and cancer treatment. This information is not meant to be comprehensive. If you need help dealing with the side effects of treatment, talk with your doctor or contact Touro’s Supportive Cancer Care Center to get the help you need.
Here are some resources you might find useful:
American Cancer Society—Look Good...Feel Better
Look Good...Feel Better is a nationwide program offered by the American Cancer Society at no cost to female cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment and experiencing appearance related side effects. Cancer patients are better able to cope with treatment when they feel confident about their appearance.
During the group sessions, volunteer cosmetologists teach women how to cope with skin changes and hair loss using cosmetics and skin care products donated by the cosmetic industry. The cosmetologists provide beauty techniques to enhance patients’ appearance and self-image and help minimize the physical effects of cancer treatment.
For more information on the Look Good…Feel Better program, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345, or call the Touro Supportive Cancer Care Center at (504) 897-8678.
Click here for more information on the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better.
Lymphedema Treatment Program
As a side effect of cancer treatment, some individuals suffer from lymphedema, a condition caused by the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the body that causes swelling in the arms and legs. Lymphedema usually develops slowly over time after surgery or radiation treatment. Some of the signs of lymphedema include:
- Arm or leg feels full or heavy
- Skin feels tight
- Less movement or flexibility in the wrist
- Difficulty fitting the arm into a jacket or shirt sleeve or foot into a shoe
- Ring, watch, and/or bracelet feels tight, but you have not gained weight
If you have had lymph nodes removed or radiation treatment, you may want to examine your body for signs of lymphedema. If you notice any of the signs listed above, call you doctor for an evaluation.
If you have been diagnosed with lymphedema, treatment is available. The safest and most effective treatment for lymphedema is MLD/CDT (Manual Lymph Drainage) conducted by a professionally-trained lymphedema therapist.
For more information on this procedure, contact the Lymphedema Treatment Program at Touro by calling (504) 897-8157. Treatment for lymphedema at Touro is approved for reimbursement by Medicare, most managed care organizations, and most private commercial insurance carriers. You must have written referral from your doctor in order to receive lymphedema therapy.
100 Questions & Answers about Cancer Symptoms and Cancer Treatment Side Effects
by Joanne Kelvin
* This book is available for check-out in Touro’s Patient Resource Library
American Cancer Society—Physical Side Effects
Cancer.Net—Body Image and Cancer
LIVESTRONG—Physical Effects of Cancer
National Cancer Institute—Coping with Cancer: Managing Physical Effects
National Cancer Institute—Ways to Manage Physical Changes