Women and Body Image (cont.)
Cancer takes a huge toll on American women. By
the end of 2001, some 625,000 women will have been diagnosed with cancer, and
about 267,300 women will have died of the disease. Fifty-eight percent of the
estimated 8.9 million cancer survivors today are women. Cancers that are
specific to or affect women in high numbers include breast, cervical,
endometrial (uterine), ovarian, lung, skin, and colorectal cancers, as well as
AIDS-associated cancers. Breast cancer is the most frequent type of new cancer
diagnosed in women. The number one cause of cancer deaths in women is lung
cancer; breast cancer is number two. Cancer is a complex group of diseases where
cells grow out of control, becoming abnormal and causing illness. Major advances
have occurred in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Cancer and its treatments can affect a woman's
body image in many ways. Surgery can cause changes in physical appearance and
scarring. Other treatments can cause weight loss or weight gain, fatigue,
nausea, hair loss, and skin changes, which can change how a woman looks and
feels. Wigs and makeup are some options to help women look and feel better. If a
woman has a breast removed, she can have surgery to reconstruct the breast or
wear a prosthesis (an artificial or fake breast). Some women can find it hard to
be upbeat when their treatment makes them feel bad or changes how they look. It
is normal to feel this way. Talking with family, friends and your health care
provider can give you the support you need to cope with cancer and it's
treatments. For more, please visit the Cancer
About 16 million Americans have diabetes and the
numbers are growing every day. Obesity (being overweight), aging, and the
couch-potato lifestyle increase a person's risk for diabetes. Children can also
get diabetes. During pregnancy, diabetes can occur, which goes away when the
pregnancy is over. But this can put a woman at increased risk for developing
diabetes when she is older. People who have diabetes have higher than normal
blood sugar levels, which prevents their bodies from getting needed fuel for
growth and energy. Some of the problems that can occur with diabetes include
blindness, loss of a limb, heart disease, kidney failure, and premature death.
With the proper treatment and changes in diet and exercise, many people who have
diabetes can live healthy and full lives.
A woman's body image can change when she has
diabetes. Even if a woman feels great, having to always watch what she eats and
check her blood sugar can be a constant reminder that something is wrong.
Starting a diet and exercise program to help manage diabetes can be stressful.
It is important for women to learn as much as they can about managing diabetes.
It is also important for women to know the warning signs of diabetes: extreme
thirst; frequent urination; weight loss without trying to lose weight; extreme
hunger; sudden vision changes; tingling or numbness in the hands or feet;
continuous fatigue; very dry skin; slow-healing sores; and increase in
infections. Seeing your health care provider as soon as you think there may be a
problem is best. For more, please visit the Diabetes