Feeling Attractive After Cancer: 5 Excellent Pieces of Advice from Strangers

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Reddit user thrwy46throwaway is a 45-year-old woman and a breast cancer survivor who has had a single mastectomy. Her current implant is a different size and shape than her remaining breast, and she struggles with feeling that she’s no longer attractive.

“I wonder how my husband can possibly be into me,” she says. Thrway46throwaway has been married to her husband for a decade, but things have simply changed now that she’s older and has gone through childbirth and breast cancer. “There is absolutely no way we are getting divorced,” she says, “so I need to make the best of what I have.” But she’s seen signs she thinks may indicate that her husband doesn’t find her as desirable anymore as he once did.

“I guess I need some encouragement and advice,” she says, “and maybe it will help just to put all that out there. Thanks!”

Luckily, Reddit was able to come to the rescue yet again. Several Reddit users have jumped in to make powerful remarks about what beauty and love really mean, and their responses are definitely worth a read. Check them out below.

(NOTE: Some comments have been edited for length, readability, or profanity.)


5. Just ask.

“You never know what he thinks until you ask. Listen to what he says rather than trying too much at reading into how you think he’d feel. Some men might not care about those things. Some men might actually like some of that in itself.” —Reddit user NoNoItsTotallyNormal

4. Strength is beauty.

“I’m a 35-year-old male, and I’ve always found that someone that can beat cancer is such a strong person, and that adds so much to their attraction. I’ve seen pictures of breast cancer survivors without their shirts on, and I find it enormously attractive and epically beautiful. My advice to you, take it or leave it, is to not be so insecure about it and embrace the new strong woman you are.” —Reddit user punklife81

3. Let the prophecy fulfill itself.

“In my experience, having your confidence beat up is usually much worse than whatever caused it. Acting sexy is sexy, on any body. Conversely, acting unsexy is unsexy, on any body. Do whatever it takes for you to feel sexy again, and the prophecy will fulfill itself.” —Reddit user MyPunsSuck

2. Be confident.

“Don’t be your own worst enemy. Have confidence in yourself and the whole world is yours for the taking.” —Reddit user nclh77

1. Be vulnerable.

“I had a girlfriend that had loose skin, which a lot of people who have lost a lot of weight have and are self-conscious about. When I ran my hands over her and felt that, it always made me smile a little bit because it made me think of all she’d been through and how luckily I was to be ‘let in’ to this place where her insecurities were exposed. Intimacy and sex are really enhanced when it means something to be so exposed.” —Reddit user NoNoItsTotallyNormal


Bottom line? Not having one or both of your breasts does not make you less beautiful or less of a woman. In fact, having gone through cancer and a mastectomy can in some ways make you more attractive!

If romantic relationships and attractiveness are becoming a problem for you after cancer treatment, be sure to talk to your partner about the issue. It may not be as big an issue as you assumed it was—and if it is, you will have the chance to resolve it by more fully understanding your partner’s point of view.

Above all, don’t give up hope! Strength is beautiful. Scars are beautiful. You are beautiful. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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