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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Many surgical and medical treatments have the potential to alter appearance. However, whereas some seek to improve appearance, for example, cosmetic surgery or hormonal therapy for acne, those that aim to treat cancer and other conditions can result in temporary or permanent undesirable appearance changes. This article focuses on the latter and uses a variety of familiar surgical and medical treatments, recognized as adversely changing appearance, to illustrate the common psychological and social appearance-related challenges experienced by patients. In addition, it investigates why some individuals appear to cope with an altered appearance better than others, touches upon the evidence base for interventions in this area, and provides opinion on the direction of future research.

Keywords: surgery, medical treatments, appearance psychology, cancer treatment

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