Esthetician Puts Her Cancer Experience to Work
“Imagine being hospitalized on your honeymoon and finding out you have cancer,” Oncology Spa Solutions founder and owner Becky Kuehn told an interviewer with MiladyPro. “That was the first step in my journey more than 35 years ago. Of course, it changed everything, and everything that followed has prepared me, step-by-step, for where I am now, sometimes when I didn’t even know it.”After cancer treatment and cosmetology school, Kuehn pursued a career in makeup—first as a makeup artist for a consumer manufacturer and then in sales at a department store. When she found herself craving time in the treatment room, she returned to school for stronger esthetics education, and she began working as a solo esthetician within a salon. Still, she felt that something was missing.
“I remembered the women I encountered during my cancer experience and I wanted to do more, give back,” she told MiladyPro. “I began volunteering with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program. I fell in love with these women. They had such courage and strength. I was inspired by their bravery.”
In 2007, Kuehn received permission to establish a treatment room at an oncology center, and today she splits her time between locations at two different affiliated hospitals in the Seattle area. In 2013, she established Oncology Spa Solutions, a program that trains estheticians in the skills applicable to working in oncology. She wanted cancer patients to be able to go to any esthetician for skin care services.
“It all started when a terminally ill client I encountered began weeping one day when he told me that his esthetician had refused to treat him any longer because she didn’t feel confident treating someone with cancer,” Kuehn said in the interview. “His weekly skin care treatments were the one thing he looked forward to all week. I began Oncology Spa Solutions because I saw the effect that human touch, caring and compassion had on a terminally ill person. I want to prepare all spa professionals with the tools they need to safely and compassionately care for clients with cancer or other life-threatening diseases.”
Oncology Spa Solutions’ training sessions are held across the United States for estheticians who want to have a better understanding of how to treat clients undergoing cancer treatment and to care for these clients when they are in recovery. Kuehn reports that the good feelings go both ways: “Oncology Spa Solutions has restored passion to esthys who find themselves burned out,” she says. “It restores their empathy and heart.”
Following her passion has led Kuehn down a rewarding career path, something she urges beauty professionals to find as well. “Lead with your heart, and you will never lose,” she advises. “Treat people with kindness. You never want to encounter someone a second time and have to start with an apology.”