Hey good lookin'!

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By Special to the Monitor

Going through cancer treatment changes how a person looks and feels. This, in turn, can modify ones’ actions, relationships and life. If you are going through cancer treatment and want to be more comfortable in society again, realize you are not alone.

A 2006 on-line survey conducted by the Cincinnati-based research firm R.L. Repass & Partners Inc. showed that a 69 percent majority of 400 female cancer patients said their appearance changed either somewhat or a lot during chemotherapy or radiation.

Also, 83 percent of the women surveyed indicated they were either somewhat self-conscious or very self-conscious about their appearance during treatment.

Nearly half of the women surveyed or 47 percent said that the change in their appearance during treatment resulted in friends treating them somewhat or very differently. Less than half of the women surveyed had sought help to cope with appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment

The Personal Care Products Council Foundation, National Cosmetology Association (NCA) and American Cancer Society (ACS) have worked to improve the quality of life of more than 370,000 cancer survivors in the U.S by offering the Look GoodeeFeel Better (LGFB) program. Now the Los Alamos Council on Cancer (LACC) is collaborating with the ACS to bring and support this program locally. It was held the end of June at the Best Western Hilltop House.

LGFB is a free, non-medical, brand-neutral, national public service program supported by corporate donors to help women offset appearance-related changes from cancer treatment.

One aspect of this program is that trained cosmetologists provide each cancer patient with a gift bag from corporate donors of cosmetics worth anywhere from $150 to $300. The cosmetics industry as a whole donates more than $10 million worth of cosmetics to LGFB participants in the U.S. annually.

To bring this program to Los Alamos, multiple organizations got involved in certifying cosmetologists. The Best Western Hill Top House generously provided a large room with refreshments. The Los Alamos Council on Cancer (LACC) located cosmetologists interested in contributing their services. The American Cancer Society provided a LGFB trainer to educate the cosmetic volunteers. And, Northern New Mexico Cancer Care located a cancer patient model with leukemia for the trainer’s hair and makeup demonstration.

Trainer Loretta Tafoya spoke to six local cosmetologists, Doreen Archuleta, Angie Charlton, Debby Davis, Annette Maes-Livermore, LeAnne Parsons and Monica Stark during a three-hour session. They learned from Loretta and ACS videos how to provide expert advice, offer participants instruction on caring for their skin, apply makeup, and how patients cope with hair loss to help counteract the appearance-related side affects of cancer treatment.

The Los Alamos program is available to cancer patients in northern New Mexico and will start sessions this month.

For more information about the LGFB program, check out www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org, call the Santa Fe ACS office at 946-3095, or look at LACC webpage at www.losalamoscounciloncancer.org to register for LGFB Los Alamos sessions.