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Look Good...Feel Better

Celebrating 20 Years of Helping Cancer Survivors Find Hope, Courage, and Confidence


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For Nancy Lumb, one of the hardest parts of having cancer was dealing with the appearance-related side effects of treatment. “I never cried when I was told I had breast cancer or had to tell my mother and husband,” says Nancy. “I only cried when I started to lose my hair. Cancer has a way of robbing you of your femininity.”

For help, Nancy turned to Look Good…Feel Better, an organization founded in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation that helps women, men, and teens manage appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. This year, the organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary with its collaborators, the American Cancer Society and the National Cosmetology Association.

Look Good…Feel Better conducts workshops in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. At the workshops, women receive hands-on, step-by-step makeover advice from cosmetology professionals who are specially trained in working with cancer-related side effects. Cosmetologists are available to answer each woman’s specific and unique questions, such as how to draw eyebrows better or how to camouflage particular types of pigmentation changes.

In 1991, Look Good…Feel Better launched a Spanish language program, Luzca Bien…Siéntase Mejor, and in 1996, Look Good…Feel Better for Teens was introduced. The teen program is offered to both girls and boys at 18 sites across the country. Look Good …Feel Better has also explored how the side effects of cancer treatment affect men and has produced an informational brochure available in print and online at LookGoodFeelBetter.org.

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Look Good…Feel Better is conducting a national search to identify five women who embody the organization’s “five core values” – confidence, courage, control, community, and caring. Women who have a personal experience of coping with cancer can visit LookGoodFeelBetter.org to submit stories of hope, strength, and determination in any form – essays, poems, pictures, videos, or other means of expression. Official contest rules are available on the website.

Look Good…Feel Better programs are truly empowering and have helped women across the country improve their self esteem: “I discovered that I can look as good as I did before I got sick, maybe even better,” says Nancy.

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To locate a Look Good…Feel Better program, visit LookGoodFeelBetter.org or call (800) 395-LOOK.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, May/June 2009.

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