When the women first walk into the room, some are shy or worried. They feel vulnerable; the effects of chemotherapy and radiation can make even the most active and beautiful patient look tired.
|Scarves and wigs can help patients look their best. (Photo by Darrin S. Joy)|
By the time they finish their class, though, they are bubbly, excitedly chatting with new friends and eager to take their new outlook back home. And all it took was a little makeup.
The women are part of “Look Good … Feel Better,” a class run by the American Cancer Society and City of Hope. Now, the popular class has been expanded to Spanish-speaking patients. Called “Luzca Bien … Siéntase Mejor,” the free workshop in Spanish helps patients learn how to use cosmetics, wigs and other products to look their best during cancer treatment.
Luzca Bien … Siéntase Mejor is one of an expanding array of educational offerings in Spanish for patients and their caregivers offered through the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. Over the past three years, staff members have offered new culturally appropriate Spanish-language classes and workshops including gentle restorative yoga, tips for healthy eating and nutrition, pain control and communication, and legal resources. Since its inception in 2009, the pain course alone has served more than 200 patients and their caregivers, including patients and families from other cancer centers statewide.
Biller Patient and Family Resource Center staff based these classes on needs reported through surveys of patients and their family members.
Staff members also are recruiting Spanish-speaking patients and their family members for a council that will help guide the creation of relevant programs.
The first Luzca Bien … Siéntase Mejor class will be offered Aug. 22, and as a testament to the need for the service, the class is already full, said Stella Sainz, cosmetologist at the Positive Image Center®, which coordinates the service with the American Cancer Society.
The Positive Image Center plans to offer the class the first or second Monday of the month every other month, alternating with the center’s current bimonthly English-language class taught by fellow cosmetologist Cassie Polchow, although the schedule may expand if demand is high.
As Sainz explained, the class is about more than just beauty tips. “It covers how to apply makeup, beauty techniques, taking care of skin and nails and other issues,” she said. “Women learn how to not contaminate their own makeup.”
Women are taught that mascara only has a safe shelf life of three months, so they must date each tube to avoid infection. They also learn to apply makeup with spatulas and sponges to keep their makeup containers clean.
Sainz and Polchow then show women how to use wigs, hats and scarves and demonstrate new scarf-tying techniques so the patients can work around their hair loss.
In addition, women get a free makeup kit from the American Cancer Society, along with mascaras, blushes, shadows, caps and cuticle oils donated by the Positive Image Center.
Female patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation are eligible to participate in the class. Patients outside City of Hope also are welcome to attend, and reservations are required. The classes are held in the activity room at the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, located within the Main Medical Building.
To reserve a spot in a class or learn more, call 626-301-8874. Future class dates will be added to the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center’s calendar and City of Hope’s online master calendar in the coming months. To learn more about other classes held in Spanish, call 626-256-4673, ext. 3CARE, or visit www.cityofhope.org/billercenter.