Self-concept, body image, and use of unconventional therapies in patients with gynaecological malignancies in the state of complete remission and recurrence

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1999 Jan;82(1):101-6. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(98)00226-7.


Objective: Are there differences in self-concept and body image in patients with cancer recurrence in comparison to patients with complete remission? What impact has cancer recurrence on use, users and non-users of unconventional cancer therapies?

Patients and methods: One hundred and nine patients with no evidence of disease after gynaecological cancer and sixty-one patients with recurrent disease were analysed for self-concept with the Frankfurter Selbstkonzeptskalen and body image with the Frankfurter Körperkonzeptskalen. Use and motivation for unconventional therapies was assessed with a questionnaire.

Results: With respect to frequency of use and expected benefits of unconventional therapies no differences were observed between the groups. However, cancer recurrence was found to induce considerable changes of self-concept and body image, some indicating even positive changes due to cancer recurrence.

Conclusion: It may be beneficial to consider body therapy and psychotherapy as a mean to improve body image and self-esteem in cases with cancer recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Image*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology
  • Remission Induction
  • Self Concept*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / psychology