The month of October is synonymous with breast cancer awareness. It is a time to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and screening. It’s a time to spread the word about mammograms and encouraging families, communities and individuals to get involved. Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide and its incidence continues to be on the rise each year. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women.
Most women can survive breast cancer.
That is if it’s found and detected early, hence the importance of spreading awareness. Cancer takes a toll on both one’s body and emotions as well. Women, more often than not, tend to feel guilty about the toll the illness takes on work and their family. It’s hard for family, friends and loved ones to fully comprehend what a woman feels when she is suffering from cancer. It is equally difficult for the person going through this to articulate their emotions well. Emotional healing is just as important as the physical treatment. It can be extremely beneficial to regaining self-confidence and helping the person feel beautiful, and feel good about themselves once again.
I am sure we have all heard of the phrase “when you look good, you feel good”. For many women going through cancer, it’s difficult to feel beautiful when dealing with the side effects of the illness and treatment.
Every woman deserves to feel beautiful and desired.
It may sound superficial but there is a sense of self- confidence that a woman feels when she looks and feels good about herself. Feeling beautiful and confident can be a great part of the healing process.
Makeup and hair… a powerful tool
Loss of hair, skin discoloration or texture changes are some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Accepting a post-cancer body is often very difficult. Some women share that losing a breast to cancer is equivalent to losing your femininity and sexuality all at once. These transformations often leave patients to deal with issues of body image and self-esteem.
I believe that makeup is a powerful tool. One that should not only be used to cover up imperfections but instead, enhance a woman natural beauty.
Imagine how something as simple as putting on red lipstick makes you feel when you are down? If it can make you feel that confident and powerful once again, what can a complete makeover mean to a woman battling cancer? It is this sort of realization that has seen different organizations come up to help cancer patients be able to feel beautiful once again. A good example is the U.K based Look good feel better (LGFB). It is the only International cancer support charity that helps women and teenagers manage the visible side-effects of cancer treatment.
LGFB conducts beauty workshops and master classes regularly across the U.K. Their aim is to greatly increase people’s confidence and self-esteem at a very difficult time in their lives.
The eyebrow wigs that were trending early this year, courtesy of New York based top hair stylist Andrew DiSimone whose salon specializes in hair replacement, were initially invented for cancer patients experiencing hair loss. Depending on the medication used, some people lose hair on their heads. Others may lose facial hair as well including eyebrows and eyelashes. The eyebrow wigs were Andrew’s way of helping women with cancer feel beautiful once again.
While a hair and makeup makeover may not seem like much to the ordinary person, to a cancer patient/survivor it is more than skin deep.
It is my hope that we will one day see more programs similar to the LGFB. Programs aimed at helping cancer patients feel good about themselves both on the inside and out once again. It’s very easy to get caught up with the physical, as well as the emotional treatment and completely ignore the appearance and self-esteem of the patient. The simple act of looking good on the outside can bring about feelings of joy, hope and love for oneself once again. Call it a makeover of the soul!
PS: The Nairobi Women’s Hospital will be offering FREE Breast examinations at all their branches throughout October. Other cancer screenings will be offered at discounted rates.
Featured image courtesy of Moshoodat