After losing a breast to cancer, countless women have shared that the experience is equivalent to losing your femininity and sexuality all at once, leaving patients to deal with issues of body image and self-esteem. Accepting a post-cancer body is often very difficult. But simple sensitive acts of care and kindness can help. This is the focus of The Breast Cancer Charities Feeling Beautiful Again Project.
Just as with any psychological issue, women with breast cancer can benefit from engaging in an honest conversation about their cancer-related body image issues. In addition to just “getting it out there,” women can do several things to take charge of improving their self-esteem:
Partners can go a long way to be loving and supportive in regards to a woman’s changing body image. Expressing acceptance and encouragement, as a woman makes changes in wardrobe and hairstyle, can help her make the transition from a pre-cancer to a post-cancer body easier.
The Breast Cancer Charities of America recommends breast cancer survivors strengthen their self-image through everything from wise nutritional choices, daily exercise, getting treated for signs of depression and improving communication with family and friends.
The organization is also the leader in helping breast cancer patients understand the power and importance of self-image in the recovery process. A completely new outfit, make-up, a manicure, and even jewelry can help women feel good by looking good.
Self-esteem and body image are critically important and highly personal issues to breast cancer patients. The Breast Cancer Charities of America’s FEELING BEAUTIFUL AGAIN PROJECT leads the way for women with breast cancer to get well and stay well.
What is the Feeling Beautiful Again program?
BCCA has created an amazing program service called Feeling Beautiful Again where we provide women going through breast cancer a beauty basket of HOPE! Included are items that make women feel like a woman again. Think how a simple touch of lip gloss makes you feel pretty, or how blush would help the pale complexion of a cancer patient feel brightened?
The program service was started after a story from our Board Member, Theo Cox (seen in the HOPE shirt above)…Theo is a 20+ year breast cancer survivor! When she was in the hospital, a friend of hers who had also gone through breast cancer, brought her a small bottle of perfume and said, “spray this every morning on yourself…you’ll want to feel beautiful again sooner than you think.” That scent of perfume was a turning point in Theo’s life and the more we started to share small gifts of kindness like a bag of beauty, women going through breast cancer were all reacting the same…they looked in the mirror or painted their nails and that little bit of beauty made them feel pretty and realize there was hope to move forward.
How can YOU help these women?
We’re constantly looking for donations of new beauty, cosmetic and fashion items to include in these kit. Our current 2012 “Shopping List” (Updated: July 1, 2012) includes the following items we’re in need of/are demanded the most to make our end of year goals:
- Lip Gloss
- Nail Polish
- Blush & brush
- Eye Shadow & brush
- Necklace or bracelet
- Fuzzy socks or slippers
- Netflix or DVD rental subscriptions (to watch in hospital bed)
- Magazine subscriptions
- Throw Blankets
- Kleenex (travel size)
- Head Wraps
- Sleep Caps
- Queasy Pops
- Gift cards to a restaurant or movie theatre (many single moms request this so they can take their kids out to dinner/movie and try to show them that life can still be “normal”)