News / Health

Looking Better Helps Cancer Patients Feel Better

Looking Better Helps Cancer Patients Feel Betteri
X
March 02, 2013 6:20 PM
Many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy not only have to fight the disease but also the side effects of the treatment itself. Research shows that hair loss and skin damage can often negatively affect a cancer survivor’s self-esteem and their resolve to fight the disease. A program called “Look Good Feel Better” is changing that, not with drugs and needles, but with a little bit of makeup. Sarah Zaman of VOA's Urdu Service went to the program’s workshop in Washington DC to see how it’s done.
Sarah Zaman
Many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy not only have to fight the disease but also the side effects of the treatment itself.  Research shows that hair loss and skin damage can often negatively affect a cancer survivor’s self-esteem and their resolve to fight the disease.  One program is changing that, not with drugs and needles, but with a little bit of makeup.
 
When Cathy Davelli started chemotherapy for breast cancer, she knew her body would change.  What she did not expect was the emotional toll this would take on her.

“I lost a piece of who I was. I would walk by the mirror and did not recognize myself,” she said.

Millions of women who undergo chemotherapy around the world face the harsh reality of hair and weight loss and skin damage.  But many are turning to "Look Good, Feel Better;" a program that teaches women simple beauty techniques so they can once again not only look better physically but also feel stronger emotionally.

Created by the Personal Care Products Council and supported by the American Cancer Society, the "Look Good, Feel Better" program has been running free beauty classes across the United States since 1989.  Makeup artists and hair stylists teach cancer survivors how to put on makeup and cover their bald heads in flattering ways.  

Participants receive free makeup kits full of brand-name cosmetics.

In fact, says Louanne Roark, who oversees the program, the beauty industry was really the impetus behind it.

“And they provide all of the funding for the program, both here in the U.S. and in the other 24 countries," she said. "Kits that are used in the workshops, all those products are all donated. Here in the U.S., that's somewhere between about $7 [million] and $10 million worth of products that's donated every year.”

The program's research indicates that after seeing the visible side effects of cancer treatment, such as hair and weight loss, many women are dissatisfied with their appearance. After taking the beauty class, most women begin to like what they see in the mirror.  But some say that's not the only reason they come to the classes.

"It's been wonderful. Not only do you meet people, women, who are going through the same thing that you are going through and develop camaraderie but the tips that you learn are invaluable," said cancer survivor Cathy Davelli. "They give you back some of what you've lost.

And sometimes the workshops help not only the students, but also the teachers -- like makeup artist Jodie Hecker.

“I lost my mother to cancer and I lost my aunt to cancer, within nine months of each other," she said. "One of my aunt's friends works here at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center and told me that if I got involved here with my make up skills, it would be healing process for me. When I was cheering them up, it took all the emphasis off me.”

The program is now running in 25 countries.  So far it has helped more than 1.2 million women look good -- and feel better.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid