Women’s perceptions of body image post-mastectomy: a literature review
Evidence and practice    

Women’s perceptions of body image post-mastectomy: a literature review

Alice Walsh Graduate BSc Adult Nursing, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England
Neil James Associate pro vice chancellor education and curriculum, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand that women who undergo mastectomy following breast cancer can experience significant physical changes

  • To familiarise yourself with the negative effects of mastectomy on some women’s well-being and quality of life

  • To enhance your knowledge of the potential psychological interventions that can be used to support women following mastectomy

Women who undergo mastectomy following breast cancer can experience a variety of significant changes to their bodies, which can affect their mental well-being and quality of life. This article reports the findings of a literature review of women’s perceptions of their body image, post-mastectomy without reconstruction. The findings were categorised by four main themes: negative perceptions; positive perceptions; difference in age; and change over time.

The article also discusses the need to support women to prepare for potential negative body image perceptions following surgery, as well as the need for healthcare professionals to provide individualised care because women’s perceptions of their bodies can vary. An understanding of these perceptions will enable nurses to deliver optimal care and provide individualised post-mastectomy support, which in turn will improve women’s quality of life and well-being.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1801

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

alice.walsh1@googlemail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Walsh A, James N (2021) Women’s perceptions of body image post-mastectomy: a literature review. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1801

Published online: 29 November 2021

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