Angelina Jolie, breast cancer and body image issues

Comment: actress and director Angelina Jolie revealed that she chose to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. She has been praised for her decision by the media, the medical profession and cancer charities worldwide.

With cancers there is a genetic component and a lifestyle factor: approximately 40% of all cancers are thought to be somatic or in other words related to lifestyle factors (Source: The Guardian 14th May 2013). In the UK the NHS offers free genetic screening, however these tests are expensive to run for the health service and an increased demand could put a strain on resources.

Only about 1 in 600 women have variants known to increase the risk of breast cancer, said Ellen Matloff, director of cancer genetic counseling at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn.

Medical professionals advise that checking your breasts regularly is still the best way to catch breast cancer early.


Angelina Jolie chose to have invasive surgery which bears many physical and psychological consequences.


The main psychological issue women face when having a mastectomy is how the surgery will change their perception of their own body. Will it feel “alien”? Lacking in femininity? Less desirable?


We measure our attractiveness on the basis of how we see it and how other people see it.

Body image is also linked to feelings of self-esteem and confidence.

Without any type of emotional support, women post-surgery may experience a sense of emptiness, depression, inadequacy or low self-worth.


Cancer causes physical and psychological stress and it is vital to have a strong support system in place.


If you have been affected by breast cancer and the traumatic effects of surgery, help is available.


This is how here at Weightmatters we can help you:

Together we can work on assumptions and distortions in your thinking style, and create new positive thoughts about your body image.


You will have the opportunity to explore any fears, concerns or anxiety you have about your changing body image in a relaxed and confidential environment.






To book a session: email