Helping breast cancer patients feel beautiful

Helping breast cancer patients feel beautiful

From hair loss to skin changes, the physical adjustments that women undergo during breast cancer treatment can challenge their sense of identity and self-esteem.

After losing their hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, women often don’t recognize themselves in the mirror.

In order to empower and strengthen a patient’s confidence during chemotherapy or after radiation, a nationwide collaboration of the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association was established more than 25 years ago to provide women with a supportive environment that improves both their physical appearance and emotional well-being.

Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is a two-hour group workshop that offers lessons in makeup and skin care, along with helpful tips on how to disguise hair loss using wigs, scarves and other accessories. The program is for women actively going through treatment for any kind of cancer, not just breast cancer.

Patrice Stephens, an advanced practice nurse and breast health navigator at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., says the LGFB program gives women a sense of control and normalcy during a very emotional and uncertain time in their life.

“Many cancer patients feel that they have no control over what is happening to their body, but this program allows them to take control of their appearance,” she adds. “And a small amount of makeup can make a world of difference. When these women learn how to fill in their eyebrows or recreate the appearance of eyelashes, they begin to look and feel more like themselves and leave with a new energy.”

Stephens believes that women who are more comfortable with their appearance can focus more on getting better and maintaining a positive attitude throughout treatment.

Equally as important as the beauty tips, cancer patients are able to spend time in a relaxed setting with others who are in the same or a similar situation.

“The program offers comfort and camaraderie, which helps alleviate the feeling of isolation that is common among cancer patients,” says Kelly Perez, manager of Mission Delivery with the American Cancer Society.

50,000 women a year benefit from the Look Good Feel Better program, and each patient receives a free kit of cosmetics to use during the workshop and take home.

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One Comment

  1. Woman with terminal ovarian cancer October 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm · Reply

    Why do you focus on breast cancer in this article title? ALL women with cancer are invited to LGFB and ALL people undergoing chemotherapy lose their hair, depending on the type of chemo. I watch the Bears playing with pink shoes and gloves and towels and I wish they would lose the pink and instead give the money they save to StandUp2Cancer. I know that breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women, but other cancers that affect women, or only women, are far more lethal. Why? In part because those cancers have never had the huge amounts of money that breast cancer has been given. So while those of us with ovarian cancer (that silent cancer for which there is no well-accepted diagnostic procedure (like a mammogram), just die, the Bears and others wear their pink. I used to like the color. Not since I was diagnosed. I like teal more, but of course I’ll never see the Bears wearing teal or any other color for cancer patients.

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About the Author

Julie Nakis
Julie Nakis

Julie Nakis, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. She earned her BA in communications from the University of Iowa – Go Hawkeyes! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.