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Beauty Services Boost Self-Esteem and Restore Cancer Patients’ Strength

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Midwestern Regional Medical Center increases salon and spa services to address the emotional stress sparked by a changing appearance

CHICAGO – When reviewing treatment options following a cancer diagnosis, ‘will I lose my hair’ is often one of the first questions patients ask. For some, changes in appearance are viewed as to be as detrimental as the fatigue, nausea and other side effects that can come with cancer treatment. When the fear of side effects like hair loss become reality, experts say that low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can quickly set in, diminishing one’s will to fight. To address this common and serious matter, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) has expanded its onsite salon and spa services, opening a second location where patients can enjoy haircuts and hairstyling, wig enhancement, and spa services like manicures, pedicures, and massage services.

“The angst that patients feel when they start to look different can quickly take over and impact their emotional wellbeing,” said Katherine Puckett, PhD, MS, MSW, LCSW, national director of mind-body medicine at CTCA at Midwestern. “At CTCA, we treat the entire person, mind, body and soul, so patients can tackle cancer on many fronts. Offering services that help patients look and feel good, which translates into greater confidence, is one way to do that.”

Hospitals nationwide are beginning to offer image enhancement services as experts increasingly recognize that the mind and body go hand in hand. CTCA at Midwestern, which has treated patients with a mind/body philosophy since opening their doors in 1988, says this is an important movement in cancer care.

“While doctors are adept at prepping patients for medical side effects, not everyone pays close attention to the emotional toll that a changing body image can take. It’s important to incorporate emotional wellness into cancer care too,” said Puckett.

Meg Hart, lead stylist at CTCA at Midwestern salon and spa, lost her sister to cancer in 2009 and understands the effect battling a serious illness can have on a person’s outlook and appearance. Meg’s experience led her to her current position at CTCA at Midwestern, where she helps patients understand the importance of pampering themselves in order to look and feel their best.

“Sometimes to be the best patient and caregiver you need to step away from it all and allow yourself to indulge in salon and spa treatments like a new a haircut, wig fitting, massage, or manicure,” says Hart. “Taking steps to look and feel good before and after a treatment allows patients to focus on fighting their disease, rather than concentrating on their changed appearance.”

CTCA at Midwestern offers two salon/spa locations, one located in the hospital and the other inside Guest Quarters North, a home away from home where the hospital provides a place for outpatients, families and friends to stay. Salon and spa services are available for patients, as well as their support network of family and friends. The spa in Guest Quarters North opened in 2012, and has seen steady growth in appointments for both patients and their caregivers, demonstrating the demand for the services.

“While going through treatment, I still wanted to look in the mirror and see me. I needed it psychologically, I needed it to stay focused and strong,” shared Rita Messina, a CTCA at Midwestern patient who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007. “The impact on patients and caregivers is remarkable. What the hospital is providing goes deeper than the beauty they create on the outside.”

Salon and spa services are just one of many ways that CTCA at Midwestern addresses the whole person. In addition to providing advanced conventional treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, treatment plans also include integrative medicine and supportive therapies to help impact the patient’s quality of life including naturopathic services, nutrition counseling, acupuncture and psychological support.

For more information on the image enhancement services and cancer treatment at CTCA at Midwestern, visit www.cancercenter.com.

About Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA) is a national network of hospitals focusing on complex and advanced stage cancer. CTCA offers a comprehensive, fully integrated approach to cancer treatment and serves patients from all 50 states at facilities located in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Known for delivering the Mother Standard® of care and Patient Empowerment Medicine®, CTCA provides patients with information about cancer and their treatment options so they can control their treatment decisions. For more information about CTCA, go to www.cancercenter.com.

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