Look Good...Feel Better

Keep Your Morale High While Undergoing Cancer Treatments

Look Good – Feel Better

Woman affected by cancer are often dismayed to find how much their appearance can change once treatment starts. Physical changes also affect men and teenagers.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can ravage a person’s appearance just when they could do with looking their best. For an individual's emotional well-being, it is important for sufferers to keep up their spirits and self-esteem, to be able to go out and participate in society without others necessarily knowing you are ill.

Cold CreamCredit: Wikimedia

One group which is making a huge difference to the mental well-being of cancer patients is the international organisation Look Good ... Feel Better. This group is funded by the cosmetics industry.

It was founded in the USA in 1987 when a doctor sought a 'makeover' for a women who was having treatment for cancer. The woman refused to leave her hospital room because of her self-consciousness. She was also severely depressed.

Former Personal Care Products Council President Ed Kavanaugh arranged for a cosmetologist to visit. A range of cosmetics was part of the package. The effects of the makeover were quite dramatic, producing not only a change of appearance but a complete change of outlook.

The transformation was so profound that, when Kavanaugh presented the idea to the Personal Care Products Council's membership, made up of the cosmetic industry leaders, they immediately offered funding and cosmetics. The American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association (PBA/NCA) threw their support behind the idea and Look Good...Feel Better was on its way.

Lipstick(92215)Credit: Wikimedia

Their aim is to improve the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer. Free hair and beauty workshops are held for cancer sufferers and advice freely given on how to cope with the unwelcome changes. Today, the program operates throughout the USA and across the globe via affiliate programs. There are now separate programs for women, men and teens.

In 1990, the program made its way to Australia. It was founded and developed by the Australian cosmetic industry and is administered through the Cancer Patients Foundation Ltd. The beauty industry, under the name of Accord Australasia Ltd, provides patient education, complimentary make-up kits and free program materials.

There is substantial support from the cosmetic industry through the donation of products. Two major fund-raising events are run each year – Dream Week and the Dream Ball. Look Good...Feel Better is neutral and non-commercial. There is no promotion of products at any time. Workshops are held in locations in both rural and city areas. Volunteers are trained and certified.

Since its inception, over 90,000 women have been through the program. Its Mission Statement is: to improve the quality of life of cancer patients during treatment by restoring their self-image, confidence and sense of control. In Australia, the program is available in over 175 locations and it is expected that 10,000 cancer patients will benefit from its workshops in 2012.

The hands-on workshops last 2 ½ hours and are conducted in a friendly, stress-free atmosphere. Workshops are held for women, men and teenagers aged 13 to 19.

Look Good...Feel Better is now global with programs from South America to Sweden, Singapore to Israel and New Zealand to the Netherlands.