Look Good Feel Better

The Royal Victoria Hospital’s Cedars Cancer Support Center

The Montreal Gazette Article featuring Cam Toutounghi of The Hair Clinic at the Look Good Feel Better with Wigs for Hair Loss due to Cancer Chemotherapy

Look Good Feel Better

At left, Joan Michetti puts makeup on Yolanda Diodati at The Royal Victoria Hospital Look Good Feel Better Center. At right, Cam Toutounghi (from The Hair Clinic) helps Diodati arrange her wig.

Cam Toutounghi from The Hair Clinic Montreal shown in the picture above has participated actively with the Look Good Feel Better program at both the Cedars CanSupport Center of The Royal Victoria Hospital, as well as the Hope & Cope center at The Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, for seven years.

CanSupport, The Cedars Cancer Institute, is a hospital-based charity which provides support to patients and healthcare professionals at the McGill University Cancer Center, “helping cancer patients and their families… one person at a time”. Look Good Feel Better is hosted by Cedars CanSupport at The RVH.

Hope & Cope is recognized as an important adjunct to the JGH Oncology Department, which is renowned for excellence in patient care, teaching and research.  Look Good Feel Better is hosted by the Hope and Cope at The JGH.

Making Them Feel Better

Royal Victoria Center Makes Cancer patients Look Good, too

Aaron Derfel, Gazette Health Reporter

Her head wrapped in a silk scarf, Yolanda Diodati waited patiently for her makeover.

The Ville Emard resident wasn’t visiting a beauty parlor, though.  She was sitting in a chair on the seventh floor of The Royal Victoria Hospital’s cancer ward.

Diodati, 72, had been struggling with breast cancer for the last four years. The disease spread to her liver and bones.

The Centers organize monthly workshops to teach women how to redraw eyebrows and eyelashes on their faces.

Like most patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Diodati has lost her hair – including eyebrows and eyelashes. Another common side effect is skin discoloration.

For some women, the dramatic change in their appearance can be devastating to their morale and self-image. But The Royal Vic is trying to change that.

The hospital inaugurated its Loog Good, Feel Better Center this week. Sponsored by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association it’s one of 51 such centers across the country.

The Centers organize monthly workshops to teach women how to redraw eyebrows and eyelashes on their faces.

Women are also fitted with highly realistic “Second Scalp” wigs (from The Hair Clinic).

Within two years, the Vic plans to hold similar workshops for men and teenagers stricken with cancer.

“Everybody is so nice here,” Diodati said. “It really picks up your morale. It makes you forget your cancer a little bit.”

There are an estimated 10,000 women living with cancer in the Montreal area. Their cosmetic needs are different than healthy women’s.

“We’re very conscious that women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation are more susceptible to infection,” cosmetician Joan Michetti explained. “Therefore we reinforce hygiene rules at all times.”

Michetti, for example, used disposable cotton swabs to apply makeup to Diodati’s face.

“When a woman loses her eyebrows and eyelashes, the face looks extremely bare,” she said. “But once a woman knows how easy it is to redesign a new brow, she feels better and it changes her appearance tremendously.”

Dr. Hugh Scott, executive director of the McGill University Health Center, stressed that cancer treatment should not be purely medical.

“In the past, we tended to think that the most crucial thing was making the diagnosis and to give whatever therapy of the day was – either a drug or an operation,” Scott said.

“Clearly, we have come to realize that there are a lot of psychological aspects to treatment. The environment makes a big difference.”

Cynthia Koury, who runs the center, said more than 200 women a year attend the beauty workshops. They are each given cosmetic kits valued at more than $300. “You walk out of here feeling incredible,” Kouri said.

Thirty minutes later, the makeover was complete. Diodati’s face lit up as she stared into a hand mirror.

Her face was framed in a short wig, her cheeks brushed pink and her eyes highlighted tastefully.

“People notice that I look different,” she said. “When I go for chemo, people say I look radiant.”

Radiant indeed.

At The Hair Clinic, we make you look good so you can feel better about yourself and let the chemotherapy help your body heal itself so you can WIN the battle against cancer!

Hot hair is so cool, but so’s a $50 Discount Coupon on hand made Cancer wigs at The Medical Wig Center of The Hair Clinic on Crescent Street.

Call 514.848.6185 for your free, absolutely no obligation, laid back hair consultation, & see for yourself what hair perfection looks like!

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