WHEN Jenny French was diagnosed with cancer, she took it in her stride.

However, when the doctor confirmed she would lose her hair due to the chemotherapy, her world fell apart.

Jenny, 50, a teacher from Clacton, retreated into herself.

She did not go out. She would not walk past the window in her front room in case people walking past would see her.

Jenny said: "I am usually a ballsy lady but I fell apart.

"When the doctor said I had cancer, I kind of knew anyway. I was not shocked. But when my hair fell out, that was it.

"I had major issues mixing with people. I became a real hermit, I did not go outdoors. I felt like a freak."

Jenny underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a lumpectomy to deal with the breast cancer.

Physically she responded well but mentally, she was devastated.

"I had panic attacks," she said. "I could not bear to be among other people."

Jenny went to the Look Good, Feel Better session which aims to help women with cancer feel better about themselves.

It is a simple principle. Run down by living with cancer, worrying about yourself and your family and friends, there is the danger cancer can take over, become all consuming.

Everything is defined by it - trips out are to hospital appointments, day to day life is determined by how bad you feel due to the treatment.

But just for a few hours, the women were treated to a pampering session, where they got the chance to feel normal, where the cancer has to take a back step.

The women meet in a room in a teaching block at Colchester General Hospital where volunteers from Look Good, Feel Better give the women make up tips and some pampering.

To read more about Jenny's story and other women fighting cancer, see today's Gazette.