Look Good Feel Better: A Makeover for the Spirit

By: Kacie Jankoski, health systems manager, American Cancer Society, and Stephanie Stanley, manager, UPMC Media Relations


In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, when thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring, a program whose mission is to improve the self-esteem and quality of life for women undergoing cancer treatment is highlighted here.

Cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite and strength, but it doesn’t have to take away her self-confidence. The Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program is a nonmedical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to women in active cancer treatment to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment, providing an opportunity for them to see that they can take control of their appearance, improve their self-esteem and approach their disease and treatment with greater confidence.

During the group workshops, volunteer beauty professionals teach simple techniques to women in active treatment to help them cope with skin and nail changes and hair loss. Participants also receive a free makeup kit valued at $200, but most of all, participants share laughter and camaraderie as only women going through the cancer journey can.

The LGFB program is in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, and the Professional Beauty Association. Workshops are hosted at 24 locations throughout the UPMC system, as well as many other host locations (search by zip code, choose LGFB program in drop-down menu) throughout the area.

“The Look Good Feel Better program is one of the best things that I can offer my female patients as they adjust to their new role as ‘survivors,’” said Carol Burgman, M.Ed., M.S.W., L.S.W., clinical social worker, UPMC CancerCenter at UPMC McKeesport. “The camaraderie that develops is inspiring. Friends are made; thoughts and emotions are shared. Attendees have mentioned that they feel more like themselves again. They are encouraged by knowing they are not alone in their journey, and that changing appearances are not frivolous concerns, but worthy of being addressed.”

Women interested in the program can have someone from their health care facility — physician, social worker, nurse — refer them by submitting, after indicating class preference, the American Cancer Society patient referral form or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

For additional questions, please contact Kacie Jankoski in the Pittsburgh office of the American Cancer Society at 412-919-1100.