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When a woman has cancer, she has to deal with not only the physical and emotional trauma of the disease itself, but also the devastating effects of cancer treatment on her skin, hair, nails and general appearance.  The war against cancer is one of the most life-altering challenges a woman will ever face; however, winning the battle to retain her physical appearance and self-esteem can make it seem much easier.  The American Cancer Society, in partnership with Fairfield Memorial Hospital, will be conducting a Look Good…Feel Better patient session in Fairfield on August 20 for women currently undergoing cancer treatment to help them look good and feel better about themselves.  

This will mark the third time the program has been held in Fairfield.  “We are excited see the program grow in Fairfield,” states Penni Quitsch, Patient Service Representative for the American Cancer Society.   “We have been working on implementing Look Good…Feel Better here in Fairfield for a couple of years now.  It does take a lot of work, but I have seen the wonderful effects the program has on the ladies who participate, and it is worth every bit of effort.”

Linda Koontz, from Cancer Care Specialists of Central Illinois, is someone who knows all too well how cancer can impact a person.  Linda had worked in oncology services for more than 20 years when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.  Linda participated in the first LGFB program held in Fairfield last year with seven other women.  “Cancer can really get a woman down and it’s easy to get depressed,” she says.  “The Look Good…Feel Better program was just a really fun experience that lifted my spirits and gave me a different side of myself to look at.”  Linda said the program would be very beneficial even for women who don’t usually put on makeup.  “It was nice to be there with all the other women, and even if you don’t wear makeup every day, it lets a woman focus on something different for a little while.” 

Early registration is required for the sessions, which are conducted by the American Cancer Society and licensed cosmetologists who volunteer for the program.  The certified volunteers will teach women who are undergoing cancer treatment hands-on beauty and skincare techniques to overcome the appearance-related side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.   Also included in the sessions are tips on how to disguise hair loss using wigs, turbans and scarves.  Each patient session is held in a fun, relaxed setting, and the women who attend find the supportive, small-group dynamic to be a bonus in addition to the beauty techniques they learn.  Linda Koontz agrees.  She says the program allowed her to build some new relationships:  “I got to know some of the women who attended, and we have remained friends.  I just think it’s a great thing for Fairfield.  And you really do feel better after the program!”

Quitsch says that’s not uncommon after a program.  “A lot of times, I see ladies exchanging phone numbers and addresses so they can keep in touch with one another.  That’s another really special benefit for the ladies who attend the session.”

The sessions usually last two hours and do not endorse any particular products, manufacturers or salons, and materials are provided free of charge, including make-up and skin care products. 

If you are a woman currently undergoing cancer treatment, or if you have recently finished treatment and are still experiencing appearance-related side effects, contact the your local American Cancer Society to register for the program at 1-800-642-7792, option 3.  The program will be held on August 20, from 10:00am – 12:00pm in the Community Education Room in Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s new Medical Arts Complex.  Also, if you are a licensed cosmetologist interested in becoming a Look Good…Feel Better volunteer, please call for information on the next training and certification class.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

For information about the Look Good…Feel Better program and other cancer related issues, call toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the American Cancer Society web site at


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