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Health Team

Program puts pretty face on women battling cancer

Posted June 30

— Cancer treatment often takes a devastating toll on a woman's body, which can lead to depression and poorer outcomes. So, the Look Good, Feel Better program helps women deal with the physical changes to their bodies.

As part of the program, which is celebrating its 25th year, trained makeup artists show patients how to care for changes in their skin and hair from cancer treatment.

"They learn how to apply eyebrows because they may have lost them due to chemotherapy. They learn how to make eyelashes where there are no eyelashes," said Beverly Brevard, director of health systems initiatives at the American Cancer Society.

The Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association work with the American Cancer Society on the program.

Doctors say anything that helps a patient feel good can benefit her overall health.

"Even if it helps them to come and keep their appointments and stay on target with their treatments and taking the medicines, anything that can help with that will definitely improve their outcome," said Dr. Lillian Pliner, an oncologist at University Hospital in Newark, N.J.

The donated makeup kits contain about $300 worth of high-end cosmetics and come in four different skin tones.

Breast cancer patient Cecelia Brooks said she especially appreciates the moisturizer in the kits.

"That's going to help me with the moisture of my skin because it's very dry. My skin now, due to the radiation, is very dry," Brooks said.

She said she's leaving not just with new makeup but with support from new friends.

"I'm going to really be swaggering. I feel really good. I really feel good, she said.

The Look Good, Feel Better program doesn't offer wigs, but it does provide guidance on how to care for and wear wigs and scarves.

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