Program Helps Give Cancer Patients Confidence

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are helping to make cancer patients feel more confident about their appearance through the Look Good…Feel Better program.

Look Good…Feel Better is a national public service program created by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA), the National Cosmetology Association and the ACS, which targets patients who have recently completed or are currently undergoing cancer treatment. The localized version of the program is specifically for women.

“The program is designed to help women overcome the loss of self-esteem they may feel after experiencing the side-effects of cancer treatment and recovery,” Phyllis Duduit, program trainer, cosmetologist and facilitator, said. “We give patients a total makeover and teach them simple things they can do to enhance their appearance and feel better about themselves from day to day.”

During the two-hour, hands-on workshop, participants are taught a 12-step skin care and make-up application lesson, proper nail care techniques and how to wear and create head-scarves and turbans to mask hair loss. Each patient is given their own make-up kit and also has the opportunity to try on and learn more about receiving wigs through the ACS wig-bank.

Not only does the program provide a way for women to improve their self-image, but it also creates a support system for those suffering through the hardships related to cancer diagnosis.

“We started the program in the local area more than five years ago and it’s been beneficial to all of the patients who have been a part of it,” Ann Cardenas, volunteer coordinator of the ACS Cancer Resource Center at SOMC, said. “It really creates a common support group for women who are going through the same problems and helps build a camaraderie that they might not be able to find elsewhere.”

“When I see the patients smiling or hear their laughter during a session, I know I’m truly making a difference,” Duduit said. “I’m glad to provide a service that lets them get away from their troubles for even the smallest amount of time and I hope more people in the community can take advantage of such a wonderful program.”

Look Good…Feel Better meets at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. The sessions take place in the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinneys Lane, Portsmouth. Participation is free, but registration is required. Cosmetologists who would like to help support the program are welcome, but must be certified and complete special training before working with the patients.

To register or for more information about the program, contact Ann Cardenas at 356-7606. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call Phyllis Duduit at 456-5787.