News / Health

Beauty Makeovers Help Cancer Patients Heal

June Soh
Cancer takes a toll not only on the body, but also on the psyche. 

Patients often lose their hair to chemotherapy or experience changes to their skin.

While hair and make-up might seem like superficial concerns while battling a life-threatening disease, experts say maintaining a positive self image can have an impact on a patient's recovery.

That's where the Image Recovery Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore comes in.

Cosmetologist Marianne Kelly is applying makeup to Gayle Layfield's face. Layfield, a cancer patient, is bald after losing her hair to chemotherapy.

“That makes all the difference in the world. That looks so, so much better. Thank you so much," Layfield says to Kelly. "“I feel healthier, I feel happier, and that is what improves my spirit.”

“When you look at yourself every day and you see a person that is sick, you constantly live the role of a sick person," says Kelly. "When you look at yourself and you feel that 'I am dealing with a serious disease but I can look normal'...it really affects your self-esteem.”

Kelly learned that from personal experience. She lost her teenage sister to leukemia. Her daughter was diagnosed with the same disease at age four, and soon after that, Kelly herself was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She went through 15 hours of brain surgery.

“I recognized that there was more to healing than medicine," Kelly says. "I felt extremely challenged with the visible changes that took place and having no resources.”

So Kelly envisioned a program that would help patients deal with disfiguring medical treatment. She began as a volunteer, offering free makeovers at a local hospital, and then, about 10 years ago, opened her Image Recovery Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Since then, she has set up 16 other centers around the country.

The centers offer cosmetics which are specially formulated for cancer patients.

"Surgery, chemotherapy, the radiation part, all that, it is a very prolonged process. And in this fight, if patients look better, feel better, and feel stronger, it helps the immune system to fight cancer better,” says Mehran Habibi, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins. “There are several data that are showing that basically...sense of well-being is very effective in healing."

Gayle Layfield has another reason for stopping by the Image Recovery Center.

“Most customers who are sitting in this chair have had hair loss and you are among friends," she says. "So you do feel more comfortable.” 

Smiles are common at Image Recovery. Marianne Kelly says her goal is to reach as many cancer patients as she can to help restore their smile and self-esteem.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs