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Breast Health

Self-esteem Boosters for Women with Cancer

Cancer treatment can cause side-effects such as hair loss, skin damage, swelling, scarring and others — changes that make you feel self-conscious and unhappy about the way you look. Feeling good about yourself and staying positive during such a difficult time is challenging, but it’s important.

Improving your outlook not only reduces anxiety and depression during treatment, it can impact you physically. In fact, something as simple as laughter can make a difference. Research suggests laughter can improve pain, relax muscles, and even stimulate the immune system — and, perhaps most importantly, boost your mood.

How you feel about your appearance affects your attitude and your confidence. That’s why El Camino Hospital partners with the American Cancer Society to offer the Look Good Feel Better Program to support women, men and teens with cancer. The program teaches techniques for hair, skin, makeup, nails and more. It can make you feel more positive during treatment and give you a sense of normalcy during a time that feels anything but normal.

Treat Yourself Well

When so many things are out of your control, seek opportunities that can feed your soul — whether it’s a makeover, getting a new scarf or wig, or finding a necklace or charm that gives you strength and resolve.

The El Camino Hospital Cancer Center Boutique offers an oasis of calm where you can pamper yourself or pick up a gift for someone else, including children’s items, without requiring a trip to the mall. It carries unique skincare products to soothe sensitive skin, fun things to make you smile, and uplifting items such as inspirational charms. Choose from clothing, colorful wraps and scarves, jewelry, and comfy soft socks or head coverings. Boutique sales associate Barbara Reid has created a welcoming environment where you can shop conveniently, before or after a treatment.

If you’re looking for wigs, breast prostheses (breast forms), bras, swimsuits and other specialty items, visit the Next Step women’s boutique in Los Gatos. The boutique has certified fitters who offer personal consultations for women who’ve have a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Tips to Gain Confidence

El Camino Hospital’s cancer program recommends these additional strategies to improve your mindset:

  • Surround yourself with positive people. Spend time with friends and family members that help you stay positive and support you — and, make you laugh.
  • Get support from others facing cancer. It's comforting to talk to someone who knows what you're going through — it makes you feel less alone. El Camino Hospital offers a variety of support groups.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Get a massage or take a yoga or meditation class. Find things that help you relax. El Camino Hospital offers a variety of classes, including stress management, yoga, and Laughter Yoga.
  • Stay active. Exercising can help you feel better about yourself and give you more energy. Taking a walk and getting outside can help take your mind off cancer.

You’re not alone in your fight against cancer. Talk to your care team to learn about other resources that can help during treatment.

For more information about the Look Good Feel Better program, call 650-988-7519.

The Cancer Center Boutique is open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 650-962-4450 for more information.

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