Programme to boost patient confidence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2007, 12:00am

Chemotherapy has become a fundamental treatment for breast cancer. But not all patients can tolerate the multiple side effects that is associated with it.

The strong mixture of 'anti-cancer' drugs weakens the immune system and dramatically changes a patient's appearance.

Nausea, loss of weight, hair and eyebrows are not uncommon.

The skin may also become rough and raw, and freckles may appear.

Some patients may not be able to recognise themselves in the mirror and, as a result, suffer from depression and loss of confidence.

The Hong Kong Cancer Fund's breast cancer support and care services has a 'Look Good-Feel Good' programme to help patients regain their confidence.

Organised by the fund's Breast Cancer Alliance, professional makeup artists and image consultants conduct workshops to advise patients on techniques on how to care for their skin, put on makeup and do their hair or wear a wig. 'We hope the workshop can help boost patient confidence and through peer group sharing, they can also support each other,' said Bowie Cheung Bo-ying, the fund's social worker.

'We also want to convey the message to them that beauty does not only mean appearance, but comes from within oneself.'

The 15-member workshop is conducted three times a year.

Ms Cheung said it had been a success, and a survey of the past two years found that 90 per cent of participants felt they had acquired useful beauty techniques, while 80 per cent said they were more confident in themselves after adapting the techniques to improve their looks.

The alliance also engages hairdressers to offer patients free hair cuts.

To contact the Breast Cancer Alliance and breast cancer support groups visit