FACING UP: Owner of Shartan Hair Studio Keryn Bryen (left) with state manager of Look Good...Feel Better, Carol Fazel who was visiting Lismore to train the volunteers for the program and to hold education sessions with health professionals.
FACING UP: Owner of Shartan Hair Studio Keryn Bryen (left) with state manager of Look Good...Feel Better, Carol Fazel who was visiting Lismore to train the volunteers for the program and to hold education sessions with health professionals. Cathy Adams

Lift in mood aids the ailing

A LITTLE make-up and a good hair style is working wonders for the self-esteem of cancer patients.

Lismore-based workshops for women undergoing cancer therapy, run by Look Good... Feel Better are now in their 17th year and have never been in greater demand.

In the past two years, more cancer-treatment services have become available in Lismore and the workshops are now being run on a monthly, rather than bi-monthly, basis.

"We now have a radiotherapy unit at Lismore Base Hospital, so patients needing concurrent treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy can stay here and no longer need to travel to Brisbane," says Sue Whitney, a clinical nurse consultant.

She says the demand for the workshops is likely to be because more cancer patients are being treated here.

The workshops teach women how to manage the changes that occur to skin, hair and nails as a result of cancer treatment.

Loss of hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and changes to skin are just some of the physical changes.

Carol Fazel, state manager of the program said, "If you stand in front of the mirror and don't recognise yourself, it can make treatment so much harder.

"After the workshop, women are on a high for days, which makes a big difference to their doctors and nurses as well."

Denise Finch, who has been receiving chemotherapy since February, said the timing of her first workshop in May was perfect.

"I was starting to notice changes to my appearance and I was taught how to choose and apply the right concealer so I could go out and feel good about myself," said the Goonengerry resident.

"When you're receiving cancer treatment, your life is all about doctors' appointments and you can become a bit self-absorbed, but the positive energy from volunteers and patients at the workshop was very genuine and had an uplifting effect on me."

Keryn Bryen of Shartan Hair Studio in Lismore, stocks wigs for women att

ending the workshops.

"Most women come in a bit apprehensive, but we go out of our way to make them feel comfortable and will even go to their homes if they are very unwell," she said.

"It's lovely to see them leave feeling more confident - one patient told us we made her feel like a princess."



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