Helping cancer patients look good, feel better

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Cancer is a four-letter word and that word, is hard.
October was breast cancer awareness month and November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. The Los Alamos Council on Cancer assists men, women and children with free resources, advice and a kind word.
While the Council on Cancer was founded in 1956, their members still work at full speed, to provide resources to those who have been affected by cancer.
One of those resources sponsored by the Council on Cancer, along with the United Way of Northern New Mexico is Look Good, Feel Better.
The meetings begin with a short video presentation by the American Cancer Society and free gift bags for each client.
The bags are filled with a variety of free products to assist those who have undergone — or are currently going through treatment — with head to toe pampering.
There are products by Cover Girl, L’oreal, Mary Kay, Bobbie Brown, Esteé Lauder and even Chanel. These major companies took the time to donate products for those going through what may be the most difficult time in their lives.
The goal isn’t for the women to feel like they need to wear makeup or make themselves look better, but to allow them to have some time to remind themselves that they are still beautiful women, that deserve to shine.
Cosmetologist LeAnne Parsons explains each product and their benefits, to ease troubles ranging from dry skin and nail issues to the importance of sunscreen and head coverings, especially on the Hill, where the elevation is high.
Occasionally, new patients fighting the battle aren’t sure what they need and when they need it. LGFB is just one of the resources available to them that provides conversation, solutions and products.
The volunteers at the Cancer Corner offer assistance from providing free wigs, scarves and hats, to answering questions about process and procedure for treatment, from a personal perspective.
Support groups are available to those that enjoy a small group situation, to share stories, experiences and find solutions to small problems that can become large issues, in the heat of the battle.
Monica Amit Mishra is a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and has recently joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as a volunteer and advocate. Her goal is to increase awareness about the network, for those facing a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
“This is a national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure,” said Amit Mishra, who hopes to create a local support group in Los Alamos.
Until then, patients or caregivers can call the Patient and Liaison Services at 877-272-6226. “PALS is a comprehensive call-in information program for pancreatic cancer patients, their families and health professionals,” Amit Mishra said.
Another local option is the Council on Cancer, where volunteers also offer phone counseling to answer questions for patients or caregivers that can ease the burden and lighten the load and the road ahead.
Members of the Council on Cancer team are always available to provide resources, answer questions and showcase their work through the council and at the Cancer Corner, located at LAMC.
The council is also seeking volunteers that would allow them to keep their free resource center open additional hours. For more information, call 661-9510 or visit losalamoscounciloncancer.org.