As a nurse in the chemotherapy department at the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic, Vanessa Valentini works with patients who have—or previously have had—cancer. “Our patients are amazing,” she says. “They are resilient and so open and honest with us. It’s a very fulfilling place to work.” Patients can spend hours in the clinic, giving Vanessa and the other nurses time to get to know them and to inquire about their overall health and well-being. “It’s one of the unique areas in nursing where you actually have time to sit and be with your patients,” she says.
“I’m able to address my patients’ self-esteem, how well they’re going through treatment and what programs are available for them, like Look Good Feel Better.” Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is a Canadian charity that helps women cope with the appearance-related effects of cancer. At the heart of the program is a two-hour supportive care workshop that offers tools and techniques on cosmetic hygiene, makeup tips, wig selections and skincare treatments. More than that, LGFB offers a place of connectivity and community for women facing a similar diagnosis. The workshop is available across Canada for all women facing all cancers.
As an oncology nurse, Vanessa sees the impact that the LGFB program has on her patients. “LGFB gives people a chance to connect with other people who are going through the same type of identity shift, in a less clinical and more self-care type of environment,” she explains.
Supportive programs like LGFB have lasting benefits on well-being. A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that programs that encourage self-esteem help patients better adjust to cancer treatment. “Something as simple as getting back to your makeup routine or feeling a little bit more like yourself can make a huge difference in people’s ability to get through their cancer diagnosis,” explains Vanessa.
Referrals to LGFB can come not only from a patient’s medical team, but also from their friends and family. So spread the word: Tell a woman you love about the workshop and help Look Good Feel Better make a difference to Canadian women facing cancer.
Visit Look Good Feel Better for more information.