Look Good Feel Better Programme

The Cosmetics Industry Supporting Women Cancer Patients


In 1987, in the U.S, the Look Good Feel Better programme actually began with one patient when a physician asked former Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CFTA) President Ed Kavanagh how to get a make over for a woman in cancer treatment who was experiencing appearance related side effects. The woman was so depressed and self-conscious she would not venture outside her hospital room. Kavanagh made some calls and was able to provide cosmetics and a make up artist. The makeover transformed not just the woman’s look, but her outlook as well. The CFTA recognised the opportunity for its industry to help more women maintain self-esteem and face cancer treatment with greater confidence.
The programme descriptively “Look Good…Feel Better” launched with two group sessions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Centre in Washington, D.C., in 1989. Today LGFB workshops are held all over the States and in numerous independent international LGFB programmes across the globe.

Look Good Feel better began in Ireland in 2003 with a pilot project here at the Mater. This programme is run in conjunction with the Irish Cancer Society and the cosmetic industry and though organised by the breast unit all female cancer patients are welcome to attend. Groups of twelve participants are invited to attend an informal beauty workshop where they receive professional advice on dealing with the visible aspects of treatment and get to develop their make-up skills. Using a gift box of twenty-one products presented to each patient the LGFB beauticians take the group through a twelve-step skincare and make-up regime. Every patient is invited to attend one group demonstration and the programme is completely free.

Mater Look Good Feel Better

The LGFG now in its eight year here at the Mater has proven to be an enormous success. The ladies leave the session feeling pampered and are thrilled with the bag of cosmetics given to them as a treat.
They all comment on how amazing the Pillar Room is and love being looked after by the volunteer beauticians and make- artists in such luxurious surroundings. Even though the workshop is run through the BreastHealth unit we facilitate patients from all cancer specialities in the hospital. The other cancer nurse co-ordinators nurse specialists and oncology liaison nurses e-mail names of patients interested in attending the workshop. Women can find the emotional and appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment very difficult to cope with. This morale-boosting service presents an opportunity to help restore their sense of well being and self esteem.

The Mater BreastHealth Unit is deeply grateful to the cosmetics industry beauticians and the Irish Cancer Society for their commitment to and support for women who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Catherine Carew.
Cancer Nurse Co-ordinator.

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