Battling Cancer with Beauty

Battling Cancer with Beauty

by -


From pain and nausea to infertility and hair loss, chemotherapy and radiation treatments take a toll on the human body. For women, hair is a defining factor of femininity, and it is a very traumatic experience when lost, but the American Cancer Society is helping female cancer patients overcome their beauty barriers with their program “Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB.”

“Last year the ‘Look Good…Feel Better’ (LGFB) program taught 239 women in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky techniques to help restore appearance and self-image during cancer treatments,” says Peter Osborne, Southwest Ohio public relations director of the American Cancer Society.

A small army of volunteer beauty mavens, generally consisting of six to 10 women, lead group programs to teach female cancer patients makeup techniques, skincare and options on how to handle hair loss caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

“The group sessions take place in hospitals and other cancer centers where the survivors are fighting their cancer,” Osborne says.

However, if women are unable to attend a group session or prefer to do their consultation sans other people, there are one-on-one consultations available. Just like the group sessions, female cancer patients are treated to a one-time only consultation with a volunteer beauty expert.

 Anyone interested in getting their hands on the self-help materials, which are free upon request from LGFB, can call 1-800-395-LOOK (5665). The kit includes a 30-minute video titled “Just For You,” an instructional booklet that gives step-by-step advice on how to prim and pamper yourself, and an evaluation form, all of which are geared toward guiding patients to look and feel better during cancer treatment.

“The videotape features cancer survivors and volunteers discussing appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment, as well as detailed skincare information, ‘how to’ make-up tips, wigs0208GIBBERMAN.gif information and pointers on head coverings,” according to the program’s Web site. “The companion booklet also covers nail care.”

Whether you are trying to find the most suitable wig or head covering or you just need a little pampering for that extra boost of confidence, a free beauty consultation will definitely lift your spirits.

“Women who want to sign up can call 1-800-ACS-2345,” Osborne says. “Also, we’re always in need of volunteer cosmetologists, who can get involved by calling the same number.”

Sessions may be scheduled throughout the year, and an appropriate time and location will be scheduled for all of those interested. And though the sessions aren’t done in a salon, they are performed by a licensed cosmetologist.

Thousands of cosmetologists and other volunteers participate in LGFB group programs each year, according to the LGFB Web site. The American Cancer Society locally trains and certifies all volunteer cosmetologists, who also participate in annual update courses. Workshops are offered at the local, state and national levels to keep the program fresh and keep volunteers in touch with one another.

If this sounds like a program you’d like to lend a beautifying hand to, there are two main ways to get involved: “by being a volunteer or by enrolling to be a recipient,” Osborne says. For either opportunity, women can call 1-800-ACS-2345. For more information, visit the volunteering section of the LGFB Web site.


Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Model: Christine Brunner
Makeup Artistry: Cecily Claytor, Zoë Custom Cosmetics