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Getting Through Chemo with Style: Tips on Wigs and Hair Loss

by Jane Meggitt

A cancer diagnosis is devastating. For many people, especially those who feel perfectly fine, the idea of chemotherapy is as scary as the disease itself. Even though the majority of patients tolerate chemotherapy relatively well, it is certainly no day at the beach. If the chemo causes hair loss, there’s a daily, visible reminder of the malignancy inside of the body. Hair loss may be the most psychologically difficult issue to deal with during chemotherapy, but don’t let it get you down. Use this experience in your life to experiment and create new looks. It’s possible that post-chemo, you’ll look better than before.

Wigging Out

Many health insurance companies cover the cost of a wig for chemotherapy patients. Your doctor will write a prescription for it, stating the wig is not for cosmetic purposes and is a hair prosthetic. Purchase the best quality wig your insurance allows. If your insurance company does not cover wigs, or if you are uninsured, speak to a cancer care representative at the hospital. They can provide you with sources for donated wigs, such as local cancer charities.

Just Like You or a Completely New Look?

Many women want a wig that matches their current hair in color, length and style. That’s perfectly understandable. A wig most like your real hair hides the fact that you’re going through chemo from colleagues and acquaintances. However, if life hands you lemons, make lemonade, and the “lemonade” from chemo includes trying out completely new looks. Shop online or elsewhere for wigs in different colors and styles. You may be surprised at how good you look with darker or lighter, straighter or curlier hair, and experimenting with various looks can make the chemo experience easier emotionally.

Cut It Before You Lose It

How long it takes before your hair falls out after chemotherapy depends on the type of drugs used, but most people experience hair loss within a couple of weeks of their first chemo session. Do not wait until your hair starts falling out, but have it shaved off within a week or so of your initial chemo infusion. As hard as it is to have a hairdresser or friend shave your head, it’s really a lot more difficult to start shedding like crazy and have hair falling out all over the house. Expect to cry, but remember, hair grows back. The loss is just temporary. Have your wig ready to go at the time of your head shaving.

If you or someone you know would like more information about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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