Hair loss following chemotherapy is an unfortunate fact of life for most cancer patients. Though those who go through the experience often describe it as traumatic, the good news is that the hair that you lose will begin to grow back in a short period of time – often before your course of chemotherapy has been completed.
Being diagnosed with cancer was once something that people kept hidden, and only talked about in hushed tones and behind closed doors, but today’s cancer patients often have a defiant attitude. Some will shave their heads or display their bald heads proudly; some wear turbans or decorative kerchiefs; and many turn to wigs for chemotherapy. Most will do all three during the course of their chemo treatment.
If you are interested in getting a wig for chemotherapy, there are a number of companies that specialize in wigs for cancer patients, and we have listed them below, as well as some tips for how to choose a wig, when to go shopping for it, how to care for it, and pay for it.
Tips for Choosing a Wig for Chemotherapy
Timing Your Wig Purchase Before Chemotherapy Begins
Though you might assume that you shouldn’t shop for a wig until you’ve already lost your hair, it is actually recommended that you start the process before the chemotherapy begins. By doing so, you are better able to match your own hair color, and even to start wearing it to get used to it.
Those who have gone through the process of choosing a wig for chemotherapy suggest that you get yourself ready by cutting your hair short so that when the hair starts to fall out it won’t be so traumatic. This will make it easier for you to wear the wig. When your hair grows back, it will return to its normal look faster than would be the case if you wear your hair long.
Choosing Your Wig
The variety of wigs is enormous, and so are the prices and materials that they are made from. Though natural hair is likely to look closest to your own style, it is also going to be much more expensive, and more difficult to care for. Synthetic wigs are both less expensive and easier. You should choose a wig for chemotherapy that is made specifically for cancer patients, as they tend to be lined with softer material than is true of wigs designed to be worn over hair.
Caring for Your Wig
The construction of a wig includes tape, elastic, Velcro and glues. This means that you need to be careful with hair dryers or curling irons, as the heat from those appliances can actually make the wig lose its shape. You also need to be mindful of your wig when you are cooking or ironing. They can be washed, though they do not need this more than once every couple of weeks, and you are able to use the same products on them as you do on your own hair. Your hair dresser is able to take a wig for chemotherapy and style it to look closer to your original style, and may be able to wash it and style it for you as well.
Paying for Your Wig
Though few cancer patients think to ask for it, a prescription from your physician for a wig for chemotherapy generally means that it will be covered completely or in part by your insurance company. The prescription should be written for an “extra-cranial prosthesis”. Many hospitals and branches of the American Cancer Society offer free or discounted wigs for cancer patients.
Where to Purchase Your Wig for Chemotherapy
The following companies specialize in or offer cancer patients wigs for chemotherapy.
TLC Wig Collection
(800) 264-HATS (4287)
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