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I've got a very dichotomous difference in the way that I perceive myself”: Positive and negative constructions of body image following cancer treatment

Grogan, S and Mechan, J and Persson, S and Finlay, S and Hall, M (2017) I've got a very dichotomous difference in the way that I perceive myself”: Positive and negative constructions of body image following cancer treatment. Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1359-1053

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Abstract

This study investigated how women constructed body image following cancer. Four women, aged 32-67 years who had experienced breast or bowel cancer took part in a two-hour, in-depth focus group. Discourse analysis revealed that women orientated to positive aspects of the post-treatment body (silhouette, trust, acceptance) whilst acknowledging that their experiences were also traumatic (hair loss, scarring, sickness, swelling). Bodies and illness were concealed from public judgment, and women developed new trust in their bodies due to overcoming cancer; post-cancer bodies were accepted despite opportunities for normalisation. Implications for those wanting to support women during and after cancer are discussed.

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