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Breast Cancer Survivor’s Second Act: Bringing New Skin Rejuvenation Technologies To Cancer Survivors, Others

Meryl Kern, left, with her daughter Lindsey and granddaughters Zoey, 3, and Emma, 5.

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 – 12:54 PM

Meryl Kern is one of more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the United States. For these women, beauty and femininity is particularly challenging because of the relationship between estrogen and breast cancer. Estrogen—a hormone that helps keep skin youthful—is often blocked in breast cancer survivors.

For Kern, 61, a grandmother of three and the co-founder of Beverly Hills-based Liftique, the loss of her sense of beauty and sexuality was particularly devastating because she was a newlywed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. After being divorced for 25 years and running her own boutique ad agency, Kern was looking forward to a full and exciting life with her new husband Russell, and continuing to enjoy her roles as mother and grandmother.

Kern’s diagnosis was unexpected, but she chose to deal with treatment in a positive way. “I was going to honor myself—I would dress well, put on my wig and make-up and look as glamorous as I possibly could when I went for my chemo infusions and radiation. I needed to feel in control of something other than my body,” says Kern.

And then when treatment ended, I realized that the real healing had begun,” recounts Kern. During treatment, patients are wrapped in support, but after treatment, Kern realized that something was missing from the cancer treatment continuum.

“I experienced a lot of issues post-treatment—I was depressed and fearful, and because anti-estrogen medications literally dry you up, I also encountered all sorts of intimacy and skin-related issues,” says Kern. Because she was passionate about education and support for women who go through similar issues in treatment and post-treatment, wanting to arm these women with information and assistance that wasn’t readily available to her, Kern started a foundation to try to address these fundamental concerns.

She also became interested in new technologies available to breast-cancer survivors to renew skin, especially because hormone replacement therapy isn’t possible.

Her friend, long-time Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Applebaum, introduced Kern to Liftique’s recently FDA-approved RFAL technology, which rejuvenates collagen and elastin in the face and neck. This radio frequency technology is used under the skin, and allows the body to heal itself. Published clinical studies about Liftique’s technology show a 35 percent to 50 percent skin tightening of skin surfaces and reduction in wrinkles and fine lines. Kern was enthusiastic about this technology, translating her passion into entrepreneurial spirit by becoming the co-founder of Liftique, with Applebaum serving as Liftique’s chief medical director.

Kern recently underwent the Liftique procedure herself, and is delighted. “I’m done with surgery. I’ve had five reconstructive surgeries.” Kern chose to use twilight sedation, but local anesthesia was an option. Her recovery involved no pain or bruising. “I iced for the first four days for the swelling, but that was it. A week later, I was on a plane to Chicago.”

Kern’s personal experience with Liftique has only strengthened her passion about the need to offer women a non-surgical option that provides them with a naturally better version of themselves. “I believe that every woman has a story,” says Kern. “Mine was about embracing life after breast cancer. For other women, it might be about renewal after a divorce, or returning to the workplace, or just doing something that will make them feel as youthful on the outside as they feel on the inside.”

Did Kern expect to start a new business after a cancer diagnosis? She laughs, and pauses. “I never thought that I would be doing this after cancer, but I’m so happy to be a part of something that I believe empowers women to embrace survivorship, whatever their personal circumstance, naturally looking and feeling good about who they are and where they’re going.”

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