In her profession as a Community Health Nurse, Roxanne DeLaCruz taught others how to self-screen for breast cancer, but she never expected she would discover a lump herself. The 36-year-old from Montgomery, IL suddenly found herself facing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to treat invasive ductal carcinoma.
Two weeks into her chemotherapy treatments, DeLaCruz was able to regain some control and gain confidence thanks to something many women take for granted everyday…makeup. DeLacruz took part in a Look Good…Feel Better workshop offered at Presence Mercy Medical Center by the American Cancer Society. The workshop is sponsored by Professional Beauty Association | National Cosmetology Association (PBA | NCA) and the Personal Care Products Council Foundation.
Look Good…Feel Better is a two-hour, hands-on workshop hosted by volunteer health and beauty professionals to help women cope with the appearance changes of cancer. The program includes a detailed description and demonstration of a 12-step skin care and makeup program, instructions on options related to hair loss, and helpful suggestions on clothing and ways to use flattering colors and shapes to camouflage areas of concern during cancer treatment.
“As a nurse I knew the changes that my body would go through during cancer treatment, but I didn’t feel prepared to deal with it,” said DeLaCruz. “The program was amazing and really empowering! I was early in my treatment and I had so many questions about what to expect in regards to hair loss and skin changes.”
In particular, DeLaCruz was buoyed by the hands-on demonstration teaching her how to pencil in her eyebrows and make-up techniques to cover the dark circles under her eyes. She also had the opportunity to learn about various wigs and head coverings and other options to cope with her hair loss.
“Look Good…Feel Better helps women to realize that they are not alone in their fight against cancer,” said Kelly Perez, Program Manager, Mission Delivery, American Cancer Society. “The overall goal is to reach out and serve women at a very difficult point in their lives and help them with something that’s very practical to regain some control and normalcy in their lives.”
Each patient participating in a group workshop receives a free kit of brand name cosmetics, donated by the PBA | NCA and the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, to use as tools to learn techniques during the program and take home. DeLaCruz says she was able to replicate the new techniques easily at home and has been amazed by all the compliments on her appearance.
“I was so focused on the diagnosis and treatment that it was a nice refreshing break to focus on myself as a person,” said DeLaCruz. “Sometimes during cancer treatment you look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself. Look Good…Feel Better gave me the tools and resources to take control of my appearance and feel confident. I am very thankful I had the opportunity to attend the workshop and I highly encourage women going through cancer treatment to participate in the program.”
Presence Mercy Medical Center and Presence Saint Joseph Hospital - Elgin offer Look Good…Feel Better workshops once a quarter. The American Cancer Society highly encourages women going through active cancer treatment to pre-register for a session by calling 800.227.2345. ACS also seeks licensed cosmetologists to volunteer their time for the program by taking part in a training workshop.
“It’s so nice to partner with the American Cancer Society and local businesses to provide such an important service to those who are fighting cancer,” said Vanessa Hiland, Director, Patient Care Services, Presence Mercy Medical Center. “It’s a great day for some personalized and well-deserved pampering! It’s one of the things we can do to further live our mission in the community.”
About the Look Good Feel Better Program
The Look Good… Feel Better program was founded and developed in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council (at the time called the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, or CTFA), a charitable organization supported by the cosmetic industry, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association (or PBA), a national organization that represents hairstylists, wig experts, estheticians, makeup artists, and other professionals in the cosmetic industry.
Since its inception, Look Good…Feel Better has served 800,000 women, and the cosmetic industry has donated more than $113 million in product and financial support. The program has become the second most requested program offered by the American Cancer Society. With the implementation of the Spanish-language program, Luzca Bien...Sientase Mejor, and Look Good…Feel Better for Teens, the program now serves women in the Hispanic community and teens with cancer.
About Presence Health
Presence Health is the largest Catholic health system based in Illinois. With more than 150 sites of care, including 12 hospitals, Presence Health has more than 20,000 employees, 4,000 medical professionals and a revenue base of $2.5 billion.