“Breast cancer is with us. Who doesn’t know at least one person who’s had it?”
Such is the proclamation from Sharon Adell, RN, breast cancer nurse navigator at the Providence Saint Joseph Breast Health Center in Burbank, California. Adell, who assists women from breast biopsy to treatment to recovery, firmly believes that “a positive self-image is essential to long-term cancer survival.” As a result, she works directly with non-profit Look Good…Feel Better (lookgoodfeelbetter.org) to improve the appearance of women undergoing cancer therapies, as well as the hospital’s own program, the Personal Appearance Rehab Center, which is headed up by manager—and fashion industry veteran—Bebe Tamberg. “No matter how ill you are you still want to look good!” Tamberg avers. “When I started this program 15 years ago, not everyone believed in the idea. Now I get to make these women laugh and feel beautiful again.”
Actress (and former hairdresser!) Fran Drescher is an advocate for the healing power of beauty. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2000—but only after eight doctors misdiagnosed her for two years. To highlight the importance of early detection, she has partnered with Paul Mitchell to promote Cancer Schmancer (cancerschmancer.org), a foundation dedicated to ensuring that all women are diagnosed in Stage 1, when cancer’s most curable.
“I didn’t experience the usual problems incurred when one undergoes post-operation treatment,” Drescher says. “Nevertheless, my body was swollen, black and blue, misshapen, and I had stitches.” But, despite the pain and difficulties, Drescher kept on track with her beauty routine. “It was all I could do to get my makeup done, get my hair done, and get my mani/pedi, but it’s these things that make you feel attractive and good about yourself when you’re otherwise down and borderline depressed.”
So, what can you do? “Hairstylists are in such a great position to help!” exclaims Adell. “You’re in contact with so many women: Spread the word of prevention. Talk to your clients about the importance of UV protection. If they’re smoking, encourage them to stop. Take classes to learn more about how cancer affects the skin. Make proper exercise and nutrition part of your beauty routine, and encourage your clients to do the same.”
The following pages highlight the numerous pro beauty companies and their products that are helping to put an end to breast cancer. Support them and help support the cause! —Amy Dodds