How cancer patients can build self-confidence

How cancer patients can build self-confidence

While beauty may be the last thing on the mind of a cancer patient, looking good may boost self-confidence and even help the healing process, challenges cancer survivor Jean Kuna knows all too well.

When the 71-year-old retired licensed cosmetologist was diagnosed with cancer, she was quick to use her 45-year experience to help with the beauty challenges facing her.

“I know what it feels like when told you have cancer and the challenges associated with what’s ahead,” Kuna says.

Since her recovery, Kuna gives back by teaching women how to care for their skin and apply makeup. She teaches classes regularly at various cancer survivorship centers and hospitals, including Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

“We also exchange ideas, tell them where to go to get what they need,” says Kuna. “It picks up their spirit.”

During the class, she teaches them how to apply makeup and shows them ways to prevent infection by following the American Cancer Society’s 12-step guideline detailing makeup techniques, nail and skin care instruction, and sanitation tips.

Cancer treatment can cause side effects such as nausea, hair loss and brittle nails. It can also alter the way skin looks and feels.

“One lady never wore makeup,” Kuna says. “She had lost all her hair and was thrilled to learn how to care for her new wig and apply makeup.”

Besides applying makeup, one of the most feel-good moments occurs when patients learn how to fill in and shape their eyebrows, Kuna says.

The program Look Good Feel Better was founded in 1989 and is sponsored by the ACS and the Professional Beauty Association. Cancer patients can participate for free, and classes are offered nationally in hospitals and community centers.

Another program that is beneficial for cancer patients is the wig program, which is sponsored by the ACS, the hospital and generous donations to the program.  Patients who are experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy can receive a new wig that is fitted by a trained volunteer.

“For those who do not want to wear a wig, we teach them how to wear a turban, scarf, hats and other hair accessories,” Kuna says.

The former cosmetologist is very thankful for the opportunity to give back to those who are battling cancer.

“I am blessed to do this for these women,” she adds.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.