Beauty gives back

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We are a ‘feel good’ industry – colourful, sexy and fun. We use colour to make women look good and feel better every day, so no one knows more about how women feel about themselves than we do. We count over 95% of Canadian women as customers in their lifetime. And we cannot, and will not, abandon those same women when they are fighting for their lives against cancer.

THEREFORE, the mandate of BEAUTY GIVES BACK is clear, real and relevant: We dedicate ourselves to treating the emotional fallout from cancer. Using the sum total of our knowledge, experience, expertise and resources, we do what women trust and rely on us to do – to make them feel human again in the face of the ravages of cancer and its treatment. In doing so, we help restore their confidence, and the confidence of those around them, to continue fighting with conviction and living with dignity.

Beauty gives back

  • For a woman diagnosed with cancer, fear and uncertainty become constant companions. But the ravages of cancer treatment bring unexpected visitors – the pity of friends, the anxiety of loved ones, and the shock of passers by – all painted clearly on passing faces and experienced every moment of every day.

    In this poignant and emotional film, we meet Dionne Warner, an 8-time cancer survivor and we metaphorically experience a bit of her struggle with the Cancer Blues – a term for the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment. Not only do we get a taste of how difficult it is for her to face the world everyday wearing her illness ‘on her sleeve’, but also how important it can be to gain back a bit of control through the techniques taught in the free workshops offered by the Look Good Feel Better program.

    To learn more about Dionne’s story, click here. To find out more about Look Good Feel Better, click here.

Beauty gives back


By Smitha Mundasad Health reporter, BBC NewsCancer Patients With Depression 'Are Being Overlooked'

Three-quarters of cancer patients who are clinically depressed do not get the psychological therapy they need, according to research in the Lancet.

This "huge unmet need" is partly due to a focus on physical symptoms at the expense of good mental healthcare, researchers say.

They argue depression is often overlooked but could be treated at a fraction of the cost of cancer drugs.

Charities say the current situation is "heartbreaking".
'Persistent sadness'

People often wrongly assume that major depression is part of a natural reaction to cancer - but this is much more than transient sadness, the Edinburgh and Oxford university researchers say.

Their report suggests a new nurse-led treatment could help thousands of people.

In a series of studies they analysed data on 21,000 cancer patients living in Scotland.

They found 6% to 13% of people had clinical depression, compared with just 2% of the general population at any time.

Sufferers of major depression feel persistently low, may find it difficult to sleep and have poor appetites.

But researchers found 75% of people reporting these symptoms were not receiving treatment, partly because they did not consider seeking help and professionals did not pick up on their illness.

The reports also show that, even when given a diagnosis and standard NHS treatment, the majority did not feel better.

Scientists say a new nurse-led approach designed specifically for patients with cancer can substantially reduce depressive symptoms.

In their study of about 500 patients, the therapy halved the depression scores of more than 60%.

Patients reported they were less anxious, less fatigued and experienced less pain.

Only 17% of those who had standard NHS care had similar results.
'Profound impact'

In contrast the new intensive, tailored approach is delivered by a trained cancer nurse and involves the wider medical team.

It includes:

  • antidepressant drugs
  • encouraging patients to become as active as they can be
  • problem-solving therapy

Researchers argue that if their programme were rolled out widely it could improve the quality of life for thousands of people.

Their final paper suggests the therapy improves quality of life, regardless of how good a patient's prognosis is.

Dr Stefan Symeonides, of the University of Edinburgh, said: "Day-to-day oncologists like myself see the profound impact depression can have on a patient with cancer."

He added: " [This is] a huge area of unmet need missed by current practice."

Researchers say the therapy costs around £600 per patient.

Jacqui Graves, of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity, said: "It is heart-breaking to think cancer patients who are already dealing with the toughest fight of their lives are also struggling with depression, without adequate support.

"Anyone experiencing depression should get in touch with their GP."

(The Importance of) Emotional Well-Being

Good mental health goes hand-in-hand with good physical health. Your state of mind is an important part of fighting kidney cancer.

Mental Health

As you experience cancer, you will encounter books and articles advocating a positive mental attitude, intimate and loving relationships, reduction of stress, imaging, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. The real message of these writings is that mental processes and states of mind can contribute to survival and healing in cancer patients. In short, good mental health goes hand-in-hand with good physical health. A positive mental attitude is free. It does not require a doctor or a hospital or an insurance company.

There is a body of research on how psychological processes and the central nervous system interact with the immune system. Thought processes involve chemical communications among neurons in the brain and central nervous system. The immune system also communicates chemically with the central nervous system to perform a variety of functions.

Research indicates that stress can alter immune system function. In turn, immune system function can alter tumor growth and response. Disease and treatment are stressful, and this stress may also alter immune function. Stress reduction, imaging, and visualization techniques are thought to be useful in cancer treatment because of this linkage.

Cancer Wellness

Cancer wellness is the promotion of health and general well-being in people with cancer and those close to them. Wellness operates at four levels: physical, functional, emotional, and social.

The physical condition of cancer dominates the other three levels. If you didn’t have a tumor and the disease, cancer wellness would not be an issue. The physical aspect of cancer presents itself with symptoms and possible side effects from treatment. Your physical condition can limit your ability to function normally in your work, recreation, and daily life. Your performance, from sleeping to household chores, may be influenced.

If functional performance is lessened, emotional distress, frustration, and loss of well-being may result. The spiritual side of your life may be affected and personality change may result. Sociability, intimacy, and family functioning may also be diminished. Stressful family conflicts may result as tension within the family builds. These are symptoms of emotional and social malaise, and can be eliminated or diminished through counseling.

Cancer patients typically experience three types of psychological difficulty: the “Damocles Syndrome” which refers to uncertainty about one’s health and the fear that cancer may return; the “Lazarus Syndrome” which refers to the difficulty patients have being treated normally as they re-enter the healthy, productive world; and the “Residual Stress Syndrome” which refers to the anxiety that comes from having had cancer. These are normal consequences of having cancer. In part, just as you may have a physical scar from surgery, you have a “mental scar” from your cancer experience.

If you or your family has unusual distress from an encounter with kidney cancer, you may wish to seek professional you to a mental health professional. Many cancer centers have psychologists and social workers who specialize in assisting cancer patients and their families. There is no shame in using these services. Many families do.

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, From Science magazineTumors Trigger Cancer Blues

It's no surprise that a life-threatening disease such as cancer can make you depressed. But what if tumors themselves are causing the depression? That's what a new study in rats suggests. Animals with breast tumors showed depressivelike behaviors and anxiety even though, unlike humans, they weren't aware of the psychological burden that comes with serious illness.

Up to 60% of women with breast cancer also have depression, and that figure generally holds true for other cancers. In addition to the worry and fear, a few studies suggest that treatments like chemotherapy can trigger an inflammatory cascade that's linked to depression, social isolation, and related symptoms. But no one had focused on the impact of tumors themselves for one very simple reason: It's hard to tease apart the psychological burden of cancer, the effects of treatment, and the biochemical effects of the disease.

So Leah Pyter, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, Illinois, turned to rats, which don't share our mental burden of being diagnosed with cancer. Working with her mentor, systems biologist Brian Prendergast, and their colleagues, Pyter induced mammary tumors in rats and then put 12 of the ailing animals, along with 12 healthy controls, through various tests that indicate depressive behaviors. In one standard test, rats placed in a cylinder of water were considered more depressed if they devoted more time to floating, as opposed to paddling. In another, researchers tallied how much sucrose the rats consumed. (Eating less suggests that the animals are down in the dumps.) The team also looked at anxiety: Rats who buried more marbles were considered more obsessive-compulsive--and thus more anxious.

The rats with tumors were more likely to display depressive behaviors and anxiety, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For example, rats with tumors spent about 80% of their time floating in the water, compared with about 50% for healthy rats.

To pin down what caused the animals' low spirits, the researchers measured levels of cytokines, signaling molecules that can be released by tumors or by the immune cells battling them. Sick animals showed higher levels in the blood and in the hippocampus of the brain, which regulates emotional behavior. “Cytokines in the brain can induce depressivelike behaviors," says Pyter. Levels of some cytokines were more than double normal levels, the group reports. The rats with tumors also had an impaired stress response, producing less glucocorticoids, naturally occurring hormones that damp down inflammation and can suppress cytokines. Why glucocorticoid release is impaired she doesn't know, but there are scattered reports of the same effect in people with cancer.

"There really hasn't been a research focus in this area, [and] I think it's becoming increasingly important," says Charles Cleeland, a psychopharmacologist at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, who has examined the link between chemotherapy and depression. He also notes that "some patients come to the clinical treatment with behavioral changes," backing the results found here.

By Jennie BraggUnderstanding the Role of Self-Image in Cancer Recovery

A year ago, Colleen Williams was into the natural look. She seldom bothered to put on makeup and she let her long, wavy, brown hair flow free. Cancer treatment changed that. These days, when she feels well enough to go to work, Williams wears her “cute hat” to cover her newly-balding head and takes a little extra time in the morning to pencil in her thinning brows and apply concealer to make her skin look a little less gray.

In the fall of 2012, doctors diagnosed Williams with triple-negative breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and had a follow-up surgery to remove lymph nodes. Williams has only just begun to cope with many of the physical changes that come with cancer treatment—from disfiguring surgeries, to hair loss, to dry and itchy skin from chemotherapy. But with each physical change she encounters, she has found a little makeup can go a long way in making her look and feel healthy.

We all have a self-image: that picture in our heads of what we look like. If we get sick, our bodies change, our appearance changes, and so does our self-image—often taking quite a blow. While there is no evidence to suggest that looking good will speed a cancer patient’s recovery, a growing body of research indicates that understanding and effectively dealing with the appearance changes that occur during cancer treatment may help patients better cope with their disease. A 2011 study of head and neck cancer patients at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that 75 percent of participants acknowledged “concerns or embarrassment about one or more types of bodily changes at some point during treatment.” Some of these patients also voiced that they were dissatisfied with the care they received regarding their body image issues and would have liked additional resources to help them cope.

Depending on the patient, coping with appearance changes may take many forms: physical activity, therapy, or basic makeup application. A study by Look Good…Feel Better, a program of the American Cancer Society and the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, found that “86 percent of women cancer patients said that looking good helps them feel better and gives them more confidence to cope with their disease.” The Look Good…Feel Better program offers free sessions to female cancer patients in more than 3,000 hospitals and community centers across the country. Makeup artists, aestheticians, hair stylists, and wig experts volunteer their services to give women a step-by-step beauty tutorial. The two-hour group sessions “help women understand what they can do to manage and control their appearance related side effects,” says Louanne Roark, executive director of the Personal Care Products Council Foundation. “It gives them an opportunity to address the issue in a proactive way.”

When a friend suggested that Colleen Williams attend Look Good…Feel Better, she did not hesitate. For Williams, finding a sense of normalcy during her cancer treatment has been key. And while she has attempted to take everything in stride, appearance changes can be a bit shocking, both to the patient and her friends and family. “When you are out and about, you don’t want to look different because that is really when it happens,” says Williams. “When you lose the eyebrows and the eyelashes it is hard to make them look real. It is hard to look like your normal self anymore.”

Understanding how facial changes affect the lives of cancer patients has been a major undertaking for Michelle Cororve Fingeret, Ph.D., director of the Body Image Therapy Program at MD Anderson, one of the 67 NCI-designated Cancer Centers. The majority of Fingeret’s patients have had a disfiguring surgery due to their cancer. She noticed that many of her patients who had undergone changes to the face were in a great deal of distress. “The face is a very socially significant part of the body. It is very visible and difficult to hide.”

For many cancer patients, simply talking about body image is a challenge. And it is particularly difficult for patients to bring these concerns to a doctor without a tinge of guilt. “They are embarrassed or ashamed because these are people who are surviving cancer and are, by most accounts, doing well,” says Fingeret. “They have a decent prognosis. So, they feel that they should not be complaining about this.” But the many treatments and surgeries that come with various cancers may not just alter the physical, but one’s mental views of his or herself as well.

That’s where the Body Image Therapy Program comes in. “[Someone] can have the surgery to remove the cancer; they can have the radiation and the chemotherapy and they can survive,” says Fingeret. “But sometimes they realize there is more that they need to address.” In her specialized program, which includes both a clinical and a research component, Fingeret sees patients before and after surgery, often helping them manage and adjust their expectations for their cosmetic outcome.

The biggest problem Fingeret encounters with patients is social isolation. “That social isolation could be due to having concerns about a disfigurement or a physical change or it could be due to an embarrassment about being out in public and speaking around other people or eating around other people,” says Fingeret.

Colleen Williams has struggled with isolation, sometimes because she is simply too exhausted to leave the house. “Obviously, it is a difficult thing,” says Williams. “Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to put on any makeup. People that are going through cancer treatment look different. You can’t deny that. You can’t escape that.”

For Williams and many other women undergoing various cancer treatments, makeup or a good wig may be the trick to looking and feeling like their normal selves for a little while. “Looking good may not always be something that is in the forefront of your mind when you are going through the process of starting cancer treatment,” says Williams. “But even if it is in the back of your mind, you throw the lipstick in your bag and you swipe it on before you go into the store. It can make a big difference.”


Cancer has a profound and lifelong impact on women diagnosed with the disease. Almost half of Canadian women who have, or have had, the disease say they’re not getting the kinds of support they need while facing the challenges of cancer, and they worry deeply about their ability to reclaim a “normal” life, according to a newly-released report from the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) Foundation.

The Report, Lives affected by cancer...800 women speak captures and conveys women’s psychosocial needs and experiences throughout their cancer journey. Despite a host of needs, survey respondents indicated they are determined to feel in control and empowered and want their support networks to embody and reflect this approach.

“While the medical community does a tremendous job at treating the tumour, the hearts and souls of women with cancer also need care and attention,” says Sherry Abbott, Executive Director of the CCTFA Foundation. Abbott, a 21-year cancer survivor, and advocate committed to encouraging and empowering people with cancer, knows all too well about the diverse supports needed to manage the challenges and hurdles that come as a result of cancer. “As women, we are simply not meant to face cancer alone,” says Abbott.

The women in the survey identified that moving on, maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude, finding a new path and balance, as well as not being treated differently because of cancer, are important to them on their journey. They clearly indicated they’re looking for active versus passive involvement in their healing, and determined to feel in control and empowered.

“As physicians, our focus is of course on the treatment of the physical disease, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the woman sitting in front of us is just that – a woman. And for each woman the experience will be a little different, coloured by the things that make each of us unique. The social and emotional needs that she is experiencing are all new to her and if we can help support her through this part of her cancer experience, the better equipped she will be,” says Dr. Jennifer Blake, obstetrician and gynecologist in chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Chair of the CCTFA Foundation’s Health Care Advisory Committee.

“Our study found that 73% of respondents access the internet and cancer-related websites for support,” explained Abbott. “Yet only 21% of those women find the internet to be one of their most helpful resources,” says Abbott. Among the survey’s key findings:

  • Almost 50% of respondents do not feel supported in their cancer journey 50% of women surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I need someone who can help heal the whole me (mind, body and spirit), not just my cancer”
  • 70% of women surveyed feared recurrence of their cancer most
  • 45% of women who currently have cancer identified fears about the future
  • Almost half of the women surveyed (45%) told us that they were not able to “get comfortable with the new normal”
  • Over 63% of women wanted to achieve a “normal life” with key priorities including “maintaining independence”, “not looking sick”, “not being a burden on their family” and “finding a balance in life”
  • 40% of women surveyed ranked fatigue as their top concern
  • 56% of respondents (both single and married) indicated a challenge with resuming intimate or sexual relationships
  • 73% of survey respondents access the internet and cancer-related websites for support
  • Only 21% of those women said the internet was one of the most helpful resources


Beauty gives back

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Somebody that should’ve known better told me that I was ugly and no longer a real woman.
That somebody was me.

Of the many battles that a woman fights in her war against cancer, the most difficult can be the battle to retain her dignity, confidence and sense of self in the face of the ravages that cancer treatment wreaks on the human body. The Cancer Blues – a term for the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment – is an oft-ignored consequence of the disease that can affect a woman’s ability to fight and endure through this difficult ordeal. Isn’t it time to help?


On reflection, the worst thing about having cancer is not being able to see myself in the mirror.

Of all of the symptoms of cancer, it’s ironic that the ones felt most acutely by women suffering from the disease are actually caused by the treatment. Hair loss, skin lesions, bruising and chronic fatigue can ravage the person that a woman knows herself to be. The Cancer Blues – a term for the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment – is an oft-ignored consequence of the disease that can affect a woman’s ability to fight and endure through this difficult ordeal. Isn’t it time to help?


“The one thing I can’t face now that I have cancer is other people’s faces.”

For a woman diagnosed with cancer, fear and uncertainty become constant companions. But the ravages of cancer treatment bring unexpected visitors – the pity of friends, the anxiety of loved ones, and the shock of passers by – all painted clearly on passing faces and experienced every moment of every day. The Cancer Blues – a term for the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment – is an oft-ignored consequence of the disease that can affect a woman’s ability to fight and endure through this difficult ordeal. Isn’t it time to help?

  • For Immediate Release

    Foundation focuses the conversation on an overlooked part of the cancer story

    TORONTO, ON, November 22, 2014 – The charitable foundation of the Canadian beauty industry today rebrands as Beauty Gives Back, signaling a renewed focus on helping women through what they have coined the “Cancer Blues”. Backed by both Canadian and international players, the foundation, which counts among its supporters Coty, Estée Lauder, Hudson’s Bay, L’Oréal, P&G, Shoppers Drug Mart and Unilever, has pledged to address this crucial but oftoverlooked cause.

    The beauty industry, which counts over 95% of women as customers in their lifetime, is highly attuned to how women feel about themselves and is thus well poised to lead the charge against the Cancer Blues– which it defines as the emotional fallout from cancer and its treatment.

    The Cancer Blues

    For the majority of women, a cancer diagnosis unleashes as many emotional symptoms as physical ones. And studies that show that while there are steady advances in the way the medical system understands and treats the disease, the emotional aspect of a cancer diagnosis lacks any consistent recognition, and is therefore often ignored and rarely addressed. In fact, 87% of cancer survivors describe at least one psychosocial issue as ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’. And while physical changes are but one of the contributors to the Cancer Blues, a recent U.S. study found that over 75% of cancer patients acknowledged embarrassment and shame about one or more types of bodily changes during treatment.

    “As a 25-year survivor of stage four ovarian cancer, I can tell you what the Cancer Blues mean to me,” says Sherry Abbott, Executive Director of Beauty Gives Back. “From feeling betrayed by my own body to the grief of never being able to have a family of my own, the fears, uncertainties and losses that come with a cancer diagnosis might have been the most difficult for me. Even decades later, the Cancer Blues continue to grip me as I live with physical and emotional effects of the cancer and the treatment I received.”

    There are countless studies and surveys that connect—scientifically, statistically and anecdotally— the emotional state of patients with their ability to cope with their illness and their quality of life. In a survey of more than 600 oncologists, over 90% attached the highest value to the attitudes of hope and optimism.

    Unfortunately, there is no unified societal recognition of these conditions that lead to the Cancer Blues. Studies in the U.S. report that many of these same patients voiced dissatisfaction with the care they received regarding their body image issues and would have liked additional resources to help them cope, while a series of widespread studies in the UK found that cancer patients were 3 to 7 times more likely to suffer depression than the general population, and that 75% of people reporting these symptoms were not receiving treatment, partly because the lack of recognition of the Cancer Blues as a real and relevant malady kept them from seeking help.

    For over 20 years, Beauty Gives Back has supported tens of thousands of Canadian women through the Cancer Blues with programs such as Look Good Feel Better and, and it will continue to use its industry experience and expertise to do what women trust them to do—to make them feel human again in the face of the ravages of cancer and its treatment. In doing so, they help restore women’s confidence, and the confidence of those around them, to fight the disease with conviction and to live with dignity. Moving forward it will marshal its resources and partnerships to create a groundswell of public awareness and recognition of the Cancer Blues – so that women understand that they are not alone, and that they have permission to acknowledge their condition and to seek help in the same way they seek treatment for their cancer.

    For more information, please contact:
    Martha McKimm, Sarah Grace Partners,

    About the Beauty Gives Back

    Beauty Gives Back is the charitable foundation of the Canadian beauty industry, supported by the member companies of the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association and others committed to the cause who provide vital funding, as well as donate cosmetic and personal care products and a number of goods and services, all necessary to deliver its programs free of charge to thousands of women annually from coast to coast. Beauty Gives Back does not receive any government funding. Registered charity BN 13374 0316 RR0001.

    About the Programs

    Look Good Feel Better is Canada’s only cancer charity dedicated to empowering women to manage the effects that cancer and its treatment can have on their appearance. At the heart of the program is the free, two-hour hands-on workshop where women with cancer learn simple cosmetic techniques, nail and skin care tips, hair alternatives and cosmetic hygiene, to help them look a little more like themselves again. Beyond beauty, it’s the support from other women, the sharing of empowering information, support of compassionate volunteers and laughter that helps workshop participants gain confidence, lift spirits and take control. Launched in 2010, is a companion program to Look Good Feel Better, offering an online community where women with cancer and those who support them can share, confide and connect with each other to help manage the social and emotional effects of living with cancer.


Beauty gives back

  • The beauty industry has 20-year history of supporting women through their cancer journey, with hands-on programs such as Look Good Feel Better, as well as by creating forums for women to share experiences and support each other such as

  • Look Good Feel Better is a literally transformative program that helps women to take charge of how they look and feel during their cancer journey. By teaching techniques to mitigate the effects of cancer and cancer treatment on their appearance, the program enables women to reclaim their sense of self and face cancer with confidence and dignity. It’s not just a makeover, it’s a “makeover of the spirit.”

  • is an online community that was created to offer support, information, resources and tools for women during and after their cancer journey. It is a safe place for women – and their friends, family and loved ones – to connect and learn, ask questions, get some advice or join the conversation, when they’re ready. Whether it’s a tough topic, a bit of how-to, or just a bit of camaraderie, this is a place where those whose lives have been touched by cancer can share with others on the same journey.

Beauty gives back

  • Support women going through the Cancer Blues: Become part of the conversation, either through events such as those listed above or by continuing the dialogue started on #winkday in June.

  • On August 13, participating Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland will host Summer Beauty Galas in support of Beauty Gives Back. Tickets to the event are available for $10, with $5 donated to Beauty Gives Back. The remaining $5 is redeemable on any purchase made at Shoppers Drug Mart during the event.

  • On June 16, we invited Canadians to join us in a show of solidarity and support for women facing the emotional impact of cancer. WINK Day 2016 was a social media phenomenon, generating nearly 61 million impressions - that's more than 15,000 WINKS from women and men (and even a few pets) from across the country! You can get involved, too! Find out more

  • This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Mirror Ball. Since 1991, this spectacular event has been the largest annual fundraiser in support of Look Good Feel Better. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, we will welcome hundreds of supporters from inside the beauty, fashion and media industries and beyond for our biggest and most meaningful Mirror Ball yet at a brand new location: the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Find out more

  • Look Good Feel Better workshops are made possible by a formidable team of volunteers from coast to coast. If you are a cosmetics professional or a hair alternatives specialist, we invite you to join more than 1,500 of your peers who use their skills to help women face cancer with confidence.

    The monthly commitment is just three hours to lift spirits and nurture hope for women with cancer. Submit your application today!.

Beauty gives back

Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation
operating as Beauty Gives Back | Registered Charity #13374 0316RR0001
420 Britannia Road East, Suite 102
Mississauga, Ontario L4Z 3L5

Tel: (905) 890-5161
Fax: (905) 890-2607


For media inquiries:
Chantal Richard