Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Adv Clin Exp Med
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ISSN 1899–5276 (print)
ISSN 2451-2680 (online)
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Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

2019, vol. 28, nr 8, August, p. 1137–1142

doi: 10.17219/acem/103626

Publication type: review article

Language: English

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Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 Open Access

Negative body image in breast cancer patients

Agata Kołodziejczyk1,A,D,E,F, Tomasz Pawłowski2,A,D,E,F

1 Lower-Silesian Oncology Centre, Wrocław, Poland

2 Division of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland


The aim of this overview study is to familiarize readers with the impact of changes to body image (BI) among patients treated for breast cancer. Body image is subjected to many changes during oncological treatment and every method of treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy) can have a negative impact on the way the treated patients perceive their bodies. The article differentiates the susceptibility of patients to a worsened self-image due to their pre-disease personality, socioeconomic factors, age, and declared sense of control during the oncological treatment. Herein, the areas of patients’ lives which are the most affected by negative BI are discussed: quality of life and functioning in society, with particular emphasis on the return to work and sexuality. The ways of protecting patients’ BI throughout treatment which have been proposed in the literature are presented in conclusions.

Key words

breast cancer, body image, posttraumatic growth

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