Cancer Be Glammed Helps Women Recover in Comfort and Style
By Mary Ann Miller, APR
"If looking good and clothes and fashion are important to a woman before she’s diagnosed, they’re going to be very important to help her work through it."
Charles E. Geyer, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P., Director, Allegheny Cancer Center, Vice Chairman, Human Oncology, Allegheny General Hospital
There’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to turn a woman’s world upside. For Lisa Lurie, a diagnosis of invasive ductal breast cancer three years ago launched her and her family into a "cancer-created freefall." With the clock ticking down the two weeks to her surgery for a double mastectomy, Lisa found herself engulfed in urgent doctor’s visits, insurance phone calls and as she describes it, "Masterful planning to insure her husband and two young daughters would be car pooled, comforted and fed."
As prepared as Lurie felt prior to surgery, however, it soon became clear that she was unprepared for the day-to-day reality of her life post surgery. "In a very short period of time, I was bald, breastless and bloated from steroids, with skin that looked like it needed a good pressing. It was devastating," she said.
Determined not to let cancer rob her of her self-esteem, Lurie began to search online for useful yet stylish products that would help her deal with her body’s new realities. Her good friend, Ellen Weiss Kander, who had previously undergone chemotherapy for a rare blood disorder, offered to search the stores.
Their criteria was simple – find products and clothing Lisa would want to wear or use even if she wasn’t sick, but that would be helpful in practical ways while she was. These included items such as stylish mastectomy bras and camisoles, pajamas made from moisture-wicking fabric to combat chemo-induced hot flashes, fashionable headscarves and an attractive alternative to sweat pants.
Surprisingly, finding such products proved quite challenging. Lurie and Kander thought that if it was hard for them, it probably was difficult for other women, as well. As a result, they created Cancer Be Glammed, an online service designed to help women recover in comfort and style.
The goal of their website, CancerBeGlammed.com is to take away some of the stress, legwork and guesswork for women who are on their own road to recovery, and to help restore their appearance and self-esteem. "We believe that a little ‘glam’ on the outside goes a long way toward helping women feel better on the inside, and that can have a significant impact on their recovery," Kander said.
CancerBeGlammed.com features over 200 products that have been hand-picked from numerous online stores (which offer a wider selection of products and price points). There is an intention behind every product, with items ranging from post-surgery necessities such as mastectomy camisoles with drain management, to clothing with UPF 50+ sun protection built in to shield skin made sensitive from radiation and chemotherapy. For friends and family members that want to show their support, the website has many gift items women will appreciate, such as the Kindle e-Reader. Lightweight and portable, its text size can be increased to make reading easier for women suffering from vision problems as a consequence of treatment.
To help women prepare for the side effects they might encounter, the pair wrote a Style Guide called, "What the Doctor Didn’t Order." It walks women through the phases of treatment, offering product advice and fashion solutions. Their "Recover in Style" Shopping Checklist condenses this information into a short, easy-to-use shopping list. Both documents are free and downloadable from their website.
The response to CancerBeGlammed.com from women undergoing treatment or in recovery and the medical and oncology community has been very positive, according to Kander. "We’re very encouraged by the response from doctors and oncology nurses who see Cancer Be Glammed as a service and a resource they can offer their patients. We understand what it’s like to go through a scary diagnosis, surgery, treatment and recovery, and found it very helpful to connect with other women who have been through it. We hope Cancer Be Glammed can be that resource for women everywhere."
Cancer Be Glammed, LLC was founded by Squirrel Hill residents Lisa Lurie and Ellen Weiss Kander after their own journeys through illness and recovery. It was born from the concept that cancer can be survived in comfort and style, and that wearing and using fashionable, comfortable and soothing products during treatment and recovery can have a significant and positive impact on a woman’s mental and physical outlook. A portion of their proceeds are donated cancer support organizations. For more information, visit www.CancerBeGlammed.com.