The Changing Face of Cancer
3 July 2017, 5:34PM
Today marks the start of Look Good Feel Better’s annual campaign Feel Better Month, to raise vital funds to host thousands of women, men and teenagers with cancer across the country. Cancer is on the increase and that growth is fuelling changes for charities like Look Good Feel Better, who support the cancer journey.
Every day 60 New Zealanders are diagnosed with cancer and 66 percent of those are expected to live beyond five years*. An increasing number will live with some form of cancer requiring ongoing treatment and support.
In 1992, Look Good Feel Better was set-up in New Zealand to provide workshops for women undergoing cancer treatment, specially designed to give them a morale boosting makeover.
Twenty five years on, the charity has evolved by bringing in new initiatives to accommodate the changing face of cancer.
“Our aim is to listen and respond to changes in cancer treatment and the needs of New Zealanders with cancer. That means - any person with any cancer. At any age and any stage – and we are determined to extend our programme to ensure we deliver on that,” Clare O’Higgins, Look Good Feel Better’s General Manager, says.
A Look Good Feel Better workshop is the one non-medical appointment during the intense time of tests, treatments and medical care. It’s the one day to help them feel like their normal selves again, not a patient. However the needs of cancer patients are varied and the demand for workshops in New Zealand is at an all-time high.
The workshops help cancer patients learn the tips and tricks associated with the visible side effects of treatment. That’s the ‘look good’ part. The global trend towards wellness requires more focus on the ‘feel better’.
“As well as helping them learn tips, tricks and advice to disguise side effects, we also provide a safe non-medical environment where they can be with others who truly understand what they are going through, bond and laugh. Yes, we help them look good, we also help them feel better, and that is the true transformation. It changes their outlook, as well as their look.”
The charity is now offering Saturday classes due to a growing trend of people working through treatment. New Zealanders can expect to see this up and down the country; however more funds are required to make that happen.
“Turning somebody away because we cannot provide a weekend class is heart-breaking when you consider what they are going through. We never want that to happen. That means we need to provide more locations, more days, more tutors, more make up volunteers and cosmetic products – and more funds.”
The money raised from last year’s Feel Better Month helped fund more workshops in more locations, and tomorrow, the roll out of Look Good Feel Better nationwide men’s programme, taking place in Whangarei.
11,000 men are diagnosed with cancer each year in New Zealand. As attitudes to male grooming, fitness and seeking help change it makes a workshop specially tailored for men hugely significant.
In one of the most significant moves in the charities history, Look Good Feel Better is now offering its programme to men.
Over the past year, Look Good Feel Better has developed and piloted a new programme available to any male, facing any cancer throughout New Zealand. Tomorrow eight men will take part in the Look Good Feel Better men’s workshop in Whangarei.
“This launch is important in ensuring we deliver a programme that changes as the population does. It’s a light hearted, practical session tailored for men. It’s about feeling stronger and giving a confidence boost during treatment.”
“Like women, many men are still working during their treatment. We give them practical tips around skin care, hair loss, exercise and well-being to support them throughout their cancer treatment and beyond”
Look Good Feel Better continues to listen and adapt to the changing New Zealand population. A greater understanding of cultural differences, allows the charity to deliver a programme that caters to all ethnicities, ensuring any person facing any cancer, anywhere in New Zealand can access a free local class.
As cities grow and congestion increases, it’s another challenge for patients to get to support and treatment. To help combat this, Look Good Feel Better now provides a more accessible programme, hosting workshops in 39 areas nationwide.
All the money raised this month will directly support more workshops around the country. Look Good Feel Better has identified an immediate need for more Saturday workshops and men’s classes.
*New Zealand Cancer Registry (Ministry of Health 2016)