Transformed cancer solarium boosts patients’ spirits

A space at Victoria General Hospital’s Buhler Cancer Centre has recently been transformed to help women face cancer with confidence.

Women living with cancer suffer the effects of the disease and the treatment, which may include appearance-related changes such as hair loss, bruising and skin conditions. Research shows that understanding and effectively dealing with these changes helps women to better cope with their disease.

Look Good Feel Better is a national initiative that helps women living with cancer manage the appearance-related side effects of their treatment through free workshops on skin care, makeup, wigs and head-covering techniques.

For Stephanie, a 49-year-old mother of four, the program has been invaluable.

“I was a bit worried that people would treat me with pity, which I didn’t want,” says Stephanie, who was diagnosed with cancer last August . “But it wasn’t like that at all. It was very positive and very empowering. It was very professional, but also very fun, with lots of laughs at a time when I really needed it.”

Victoria General Hospital Foundation is investing $200,000 to advance healthcare for cancer patients by transforming the Buhler Cancer Centre Solarium into a dedicated space for the Look Good Feel Better program and a comforting environment for patients like Stephanie.

“The solarium offers an opportunity for the Look Good Feel Better program to host its workshops in a comfortable, warm and inviting environment,” says Connie Gray, program volunteer. “These workshops give participants an opportunity to visit with each other and share their experiences. This is a very difficult time for cancer patient participants and being in a welcoming and intimate place helps to make their experience a positive one.”

The home-like environment of the solarium is conducive to holistic, physical and emotional healing, which is proven to play a key role in patient recovery and family wellness. The solarium features a cozy seating area surrounding a fireplace for relaxation and peaceful reflection. The room overlooks the hospital’s soothing and serene Miracle Garden, allowing patients and families to take advantage of the significant psychological and physiological benefits of nature and outdoor spaces.

For Stephanie, the solarium upgrades have already has a huge effect.

“The solarium is amazing because it’s so big and spacious,” says Stephanie. “There’s so much light – it really makes a difference. A nice atmosphere makes you feel that you are worthy of a comfortable space. It makes you feel better.”

This article was provided by The Victoria General Hospital Foundation.

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