Iredell News

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More than a Makeover: Free Program at Iredell Memorial Empowers Cancer Patients

Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy. They are powerful weapons in the fight against cancer, but the side effects can be physically taxing and emotionally draining. Not only can treatment make people feel sick, it takes a toll on their outward appearance.

That’s why Iredell Memorial Hospital is hosting two Look Good Feel Better workshops this fall. The free American Cancer Society program includes makeup help and specialized beauty tips for people with cancer. The workshop is designed to help patients feel good about their appearance. That boost can help them to cope with their diagnosis and possibly improve their response to the treatment.

Debra Hottenrott is coordinating the classes on September 19 and November 25. As the oncology patient navigator at Iredell Memorial Hospital, Hottenrott is an advocate for cancer patients, connecting them to resources like transportation, support groups and financial aid.

She also sees first-hand the effects of cancer therapy on patients’ appearance and on their morale. “When they start treatment, the radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause dry skin. It messes with their complexion,” Hottenrott said. “Their physical appearance is something they are not happy with. They don’t want to go out. They miss their hair.”

Hottenrott said helping a patient feel good when they look in the mirror can have instant results.

“It’s amazing. When they get a wig, they just light up,” Hottenrott said. “A lot of people think ‘Oh, that’s just vanity. You’re just being vain.’ It’s really not, it’s a proven fact – when you feel good about the way you look, you can feel better. That directly impacts how you respond to treatment and how well you’re healing.”

Look Good Feel Better is more than just a makeover. Patients will learn specific techniques to help make the most of their appearance while undergoing treatment. A cosmetologist specially trained by the American Cancer Society will offer advice on coping with skin changes. Participants who are concerned about hair loss can get tips on how to wear wigs.

Anyone who participates will take home a free beauty bag valued at $200, filled with makeup, toiletries and other supplies.

Two Look Good Feel Better Sessions are scheduled for September 19 and November 21 at the Outpatient Services Building at Iredell Memorial Hospital. Each session begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Again, the program is completely free, but you must register in order to attend. For more information or to reserve your spot, call Debra Hottenrott at 704-878-7799.

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