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Beki Rainey-HammelIt can be an alarming day when a cancer patient’s hair falls out after the start of chemotherapy. Clinically-trained cosmetologists at the Image Recovery Centers at Alegent Creighton Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Immanuel Medical Center and the Lyal McCaig Image Recovery Center at the Lakeside/Midwest Cancer Center are ready to help.

The Image Recovery Center is a comprehensive hospital-based appearance enhancement program. For six years our centers have been providing cancer patients with the tools they need to deal with appearance changes due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.

I myself am a cancer survivor and was the caregiver for my parents and a sibling when they battled cancer. I learned firsthand that the more resources you have, the easier the process will be and the less anxiety you will experience.

Working with cancer nurse navigators, I urge patients to meet with me right after their diagnosis. There’s a huge benefit to those who come in early. We discuss the diagnosis and I help them understand what’s ahead—and how their hair, nails and skin likely will change. To most it’s a big dose of reality when they begin to lose their hair. I teach them what will happen and when it will happen, what it will look like and what it will feel like.

The hour-and-a-half consultation is free. Many patients visit our Image Recovery Center four to six times before, during and after treatment. Our meetings are one on one.

I believe knowledge is power. Having the knowledge to deal with all the changes ahead gives cancer patients control over something they often feel they can’t control.

For more information visit the Image Recovery website or call the Rita L. Cassling Image Recovery Center at Bergan Mercy, 402-398-6464; the the Lyal McCaig Image Recovery Center at the Lakeside/Midwest Cancer Center, 402-717-4700; or the Mary Ann Beavers Image Recovery Center at Immanuel Medical Center, 402-572-3366.

Financial assistance is available. You do not have to be an Alegent Creighton Health patient to use the Image Recovery Center’s services. 

By Beki Rainey-Hamell, Clinical Cosmetologist



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