Hair loss during chemotherapy is a hugely overwhelming issue on top of everything else going on in the cancer patient’s life. The approach to the topic is as individual as your cancer treatment plan.
Hair loss is dependent upon the type of chemo you receive. Loss usually begins one to three weeks after the initiation of chemo. Hair loss will affect eyebrows, eyelashes, armpit and leg hair, as well as your head.
Hair loss can be the most distressing side effect of chemo. That’s understandable, as it puts you and your diagnosis out there. That which you wanted to keep private is now exposed.
We hide behind our hair, we take pride in our hair, and often hair defines us– and loss translates to loss of self esteem.
Many people find it less traumatic to prepare with a shorter haircut first. Remember the cancer support system you have in place can help you through this difficult time. Talk about it. Blog about it. Share with others who understand.
For more information on what to expect during treatment, visit the Mayo Clinic site.
The wig option:
Former soap-opera actress, Amy Gibson who lost her own hair to alopecia areata and now provides hair loss options on her site Crown and Glory Enterprises, a consulting firm that services those in need who are dealing with hair loss and her wig company, Amy’s Presence; offers some tips to prepare for hair loss:
- “I always suggest taking a snippet of different parts of your hair so you remember your exact color. After all, there is different color on top than on the sides and underneath. Put each color separately in a little baggie and mark it sides, top, underneath. This way, if you choose to stay the color that you have been, it will be very easy to match to any wig.”
Talk to your stylist. A hair professional can offer suggestions and once you purchase your wig a stylist can make it your own.
Find out if your health care provider will cover the cost of a wig.
Chemo Savvy, provides options in cancer wigs.
Hair Alternatives, chemo wigs by WigPro.
Head Gear Options:
Choose Hope offers quirky, one of a kind, Cancer Sucks, Cancer Bites, caps and hats!
Just In Time, beautiful and practical chemo hats created by a breast cancer survivor.
Headcovers Unlimited, also provides head coverings along with wigs, makeup and a wide variety of options to keep you beautiful.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths! “The Entertainment Industry Foundation is pleased to collaborate with the American Cancer Society to distribute the Pantene Beautiful Lengths real-hair wigs for cancer patients around the nation.“ Pantene Beautiful Lengths is about hair-cutting events, tips for cancer patients, community support (blogs!) and fundraising. Watch an inspiring video on a hair cutting event held in Canada to launch the program in 2007.
Locks of Love: “A public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.” Nexus has teamed up with Locks of Love, and will show you in a video, how to prepare your hair for donation.
American Cancer Society sponsors a program called Look Good, Feel Better, ” a community-based, free, national service that teaches female cancer patients beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”