Finding Confidence With Cancer When You Don’t Look Or Feel Like Yourself

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According to the American Cancer Society, the words – IT’S CANCER  – will be heard by one in two African American men and one in three African American women in his or her lifetime. Coming to terms with cancer is never easy and change in appearance is one of the most common and visible side effects of cancer treatment. For some, it can seem as difficult to cope with as the fatigue, nausea and other side effects that can come from treatment. Cancer experts and therapists often find that changes in appearance can have a major impact on the confidence and self-worth of both men and women.

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Many people will turn to their personal hair stylist or beautician for aid but not all are equipped to help them deal with the changes they’re experiencing. Hospitals nationwide are beginning to offer image enhancement services as experts increasingly recognize that the mind and body go hand-in-hand. Salon technicians at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), which has on-site salons with expert hair and beauty consultants at each of their hospitals, are specially equipped to help people with cancer feel like themselves throughout treatment.

When Tyler White, a technician at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) in Zion, Ill., sits down with someone battling cancer, she likes to spend a good amount of time with them to talk through their concerns and wishes. “I tell them that although their hair won’t be the same while going through treatment, they will still be the same people they always have been,” said White.

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