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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Breast Cancer: Answers to Your Questions

How do you tell the kids? How can you stay calm? There are some questions your doctor can't answer. Here are insights from people who understand – other women with breast cancer.

How am I going to look after treatment? continued...

Many women choose no reconstruction. Yes, you'll have a flat chest, but for some women that's no big deal.

There's no right choice here. The important thing is that you do what feels right for you. You can have some good-looking breasts reconstructed. Or you can fit a pad into your bra whenever you feel like it.

Losing your hair may bother you nearly as much as losing your breast! There's just something about seeing clumps of hair falling onto your shoulder that makes it seem like you're really sick. You can also expect to lose eyelashes and brows, nose hair, and pubic hair. Most women cut their hair very short before beginning chemo, so the hair loss isn't so dramatic. Several women on WebMD even shaved our heads, and it felt great. You'll have enough to cry over during these early months of diagnosis without crying about your hair. Once again, there's no right choice -- except to be true to yourself. If your hair is important to you, splurge and buy a terrific wig. If it's not, have fun trying out some stylish turban wraps. And even if you haven't worn much makeup since high school, play around a little! Call the American Cancer Society and sign up for their "Look Good Feel Better" program. They'll hook you up with a volunteer cosmetologist who can teach you how to draw on eyebrows, apply makeup, and wrap turbans.

One last point: Don't be surprised if you gain 10 or 20 pounds during treatment. Most doctors warn you about losing weight because of nausea. But some medications cause you to gain weight, and so do many of the foods that settle your stomach -- mashed potatoes, crackers, etc. Never go on a diet during treatment without talking to your doctor.

Remember, pamper yourself in every way possible. Eat what you want to eat, within reason. Buy what you want to buy to make yourself look good in your eyes. It's important to know yourself, and to give yourself what you need.

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