Stay in touch
We'd love to keep in touch about news, events and how you can get involved. To hear from us, please sign up below.
Before cancer, Emi struggled with her body image. She explains why her relationship with her body is now better than ever, and shares tips for women struggling with their body image after treatment.
I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2013. I was 33 years old. My treatment included four operations, and seven rounds of chemotherapy.
Before breast cancer, my relationship with my body was what I'd call typical of a 33-year-old. I’d subscribed to the ‘female code’ of body shame – I’d look for ways to improve or fix my body, and publicly put myself down.
After my diagnosis, I realised I’d been an idiot for thinking about my body in this way! Breast cancer made me realise that I needed my body, and that it was important to work on having a better relationship with it. As I recovered, I had to work with, not against, my body.
I started to become fascinated by the changes that were happening to my body. So I asked a photographer, Jaine Briscoe Price, to embark on a project with me to capture its recovery.
It was an impulsive decision to reach out to Jaine – I had no idea that I was starting a ‘love affair’ with my body. Seeing my body in the photographs reminded me of its strength and beauty. It's resilience.
Jaine, who is now a good friend, would ask me to sum up each of the nine photography shoots we did in one word. When I did this, it would help me focus on what I was feeling in my body as it recovered. To connect with it.
If you’re struggling with your body confidence after treatment, it can help to focus on what your body can do and is constantly doing.
I try to think about the millions of cells in my body just coolly striving to achieve health. Or, the things our bodies enable us to do, from covering our basic needs, to providing us with special talents or hobbies. The ability to give love, make humans, and recover.
Emi blogs about body image on www.bodequality.com and @thecancernude.
Photo shoot by http://www.jainebriscoe-price.co.uk/
Find more stories about body image, and other hints and tips for adjusting to life after treatment, in our Becca app
At 25, Amy’s diagnosis came as a massive shock. Now, 4 years on, she’s feeling stronger than ever. She’s proud of her scars and trying for a baby.
After getting support from our helpline and Someone Like Me service, Trisha threw herself into our Breast Cancer Voices network. Learn more.
Patricia has had breast cancer four times since 1989 and has seen attitudes towards mastectomies change. However, she acknowledges there is still a prejudice against having mastectomies without reconstruction.