A Strong Foundation

Local female cancer patients had an opportunity to boost their self-confidence with a free makeover session at the WCA Hospital Cancer Treatment Center.

This week, a handful of patients convened in the treatment center conference room to participate in the first of four “Look Better Feel Better” sessions – sponsored by the American Cancer Society – to be held in the Jamestown area this year.

The “Look Good Feel Better” program is dedicated to helping improve the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer. For more than two decades, the program has taught beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Toni DeAngelo, official coordinator for the “Look Good Feel Better” program through the WCA Wellness Department, served as the official contact person.

This week’s session was headed by Kristen Brown, an American Cancer Society volunteer, who works primarily in the Buffalo region. According to Brown, the program addresses the physical toll of cancer treatment that is often initially placed on the back burner upon diagnosis.

“Basically, the program is designed to help women deal with some of the causes that they go through with chemotherapy and radiation – hair falling out, blemishes on their faces and losing their eyebrows; things that they don’t typically know before going through those treatments,” Brown said.

Brown said the makeup sessions revolve around a routine, utilizing the free cosmetology kits which were provided by the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council and the National Cosmetology Association.

“They get a complete makeup kit, and we go through a 12-step makeup application process,” she said. “Then, we teach them about wigs and hair loss, as well as different turbans, scarves and head wraps.”

“The women love it,” she added. “They love how they feel after. They feel a little more confident, plus it gives them a chance to kind of mingle with other women who are going through the same thing they are.”

Dorothy Carlson, mammographer and certified breast patient navigator at WCA, said this is the first instance in which local stylists participated in the “Look Good Feel Better” program.

“Traditionally, stylists from Buffalo would come down to work with our patients, but sometimes that couldn’t happen because of weather and things like that,” she said. “So, we worked with some salons that have helped WCA with other event – that would be Sensations Salon and Day Spa (in Randolph) and John David Hair Salon – and I called and asked these girls if they would be willing to train; and they said they would be more than happy. We got eight volunteers, and they came here and had a training about a month ago, and now this is the first of four events this year.”

The three future sessions to be held this year will take place on July 21, Sept. 15 and Nov. 17.

The program is open to any cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment. For more information, or to register for a “Look Good Feel Better” session, call 800-227-2345, or visit www.cancer.org or www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.