Young Cancer Survivor Is Left Devastated After Doctor Said She Had 'A Bit Of A Steroid Face’
It's hard enough having to go through cancer, but having your doctor making personal comments about your appearance when you're at your lowest point really is the last thing you'd want to hear.
No one knows this better than Becca Jones, from Canterbury, who was devastated when a cruel made the cruel remark whilst she was battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The then 16-year-old Becca had gained weight due to the side effects of steroids and when her mother asked whether increased appetite could be a side effect of cancer treatment, the doctor turned to Becca and said: "You've got a bit of a steroid face".
It was not only a terrible time for Becca while fighting the aggressive disease which requires years of treatment; it also marked the beginning of a long battle with her body image.
Becca said: "I'd not even noticed it. I was horrified. I was so taken aback by it, when I looked in the mirror, I then felt like a chipmunk.
And once she'd noticed her weight gain, she found it tough to deal with, always wondering whether people thought she looked "odd".
As soon as Becca began chemotherapy, at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Southampton, the weight began to fall off, and she quickly dropped by 2 stone 7 lbs.
She said: "As I haven't always had the most positive body image, I had to remind myself that the weight loss wasn't a healthy situation.
"Before my diagnosis I was really active and going to the gym all the time, but during my weight loss I was feeling really weak and helpless, as I felt like there was nothing I could do about the changes."
It wasn't just weight issues that got Becca down either, because her hair also fell out. Not an easy thing to deal with as an adult, so as a teen girl at school it was a huge concern.
She said: "Cancer and hair loss was such a big association for me, and I worried about how I'd look to other people."
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Once her intensive chemotherapy finished, Becca was able to go back to college whilst she underwent maintenance treatment, no mean feat when her confidence had been so knocked.
She said: "I was able to go back to college during this time but that was tough in some ways. Losing my hair really affected my confidence as it makes up a big part of how you look.
"I didn't realise how badly it would affect me. I didn't mind having no hair or wispy hair as much when I was at the unit, but I wore a wig to college."
"I took it off at one point and someone said: 'Why don't you keep it on for a bit longer.' I think they meant if I was unsure about taking it off, but it had taken courage to take it off and it knocked my confidence."
Her hair began to grow back eventually though and when she plucked up the courage to remove it again, a pal said she "loved" her hair.
She added: "It gave me such a boost and I remember it even now. My hair grew back really differently and curly, and my friends all told me how much they loved my curls."
Now 21 and starting a new job as a physiotherapist in a Canterbury hospital, she is taking part in the Teenage Cancer Trust's campaign 'Still Me'.
It's been a long road learning to love herself again.
Becca added: "People don't really understand the mental health impact of cancer.
"While a lot of people understand the turmoil of cancer, the physical impacts, it can drastically change how you feel about yourself as a teenager.
"It's definitely had a lasting impact. Even though we've had cancer, we're still the people we used to be. We're almost better as we've made it through adversity."
Kate Collins, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "People like Becca are sharing their experiences of how they coped and this will do so much to help other people facing similar issues."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS