In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have been focusing on providing information about chemotherapy and hair loss. Today, we are going to look at the different hair options available for cancer patients.
As we have previously discussed, many cancer-treating drugs cause hair loss in most cases. Hair loss varies from patient to patient and can be as insignificant as hair thinning to as serious as complete body hair loss.
No matter how much or how little, hair loss can be extremely distressing to cancer patients. To someone who is already going through so much, the loss of hair be startling and emotionally draining. However, there are several hair options available for cancer and chemo patients.
Many chemo patients who experience hair loss opt for using a wig. Wigs help several patients maintain a sense of normality during their treatment. Wigs also come with a variety of options, with a wide selection of wig bases, hair types. styles and colors. Wgs also come in a variety of prices, and some insurance companies will cover the cost. If you want a wig that looks like your hair, wig shops and salons can help you find a wig to match your hair color and texture, or they can help you pick out a whole new style. If you want to style, color, cut, perm, or blow-dry your wig, a human hair wig may be the best fit for you. If you want a low maintenance wig, synthetic will be better. If you are interested in using a wig while undergoing treatment, here are some things for you to consider:
- What type of wig base would you prefer: comfort cap, capless, lace wig, or monofilament base?
- What type of wig hair would you like: synthetic or human?
- How much are you willing to pay for your wig? Will your insurance cover the cost?
Scarves, Turbans, and Caps
Some patients find wigs to be hot, itchy, or irritating, but still wish to cover their head. Scarves, turbans, and caps are a common method used to cover the head, but still keep a fashionable style. These methods are usually the easiest, most affordable, and most comfortable option. Scarves, turbans, and caps can be homemade or found at most stores for reasonable prices. You can find them in a variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics.
Hair Loss Prevention Options
While no hair treatment exists that can guarantee no hair loss during or after chemo, there are a couple of treatment options that have the possibility of preventing hair loss. Neither method has be absolutely effective, but some patients have seen successful results. We do advise that you talk to your doctor before considering these methods.
- Scalp Hypothermia (Cryotherapy)- Cryotherapy is a method of hair loss prevention that takes place with your chemotherapy. With cryotherapy, ice packs or similar devices, like Cold Caps, are placed on your head during your chemotherapy to slow blood flow to your scalp. With this method, the chemotherapy drugs are less likely to have an effect on your scalp and the hair cells located in your hair follicles. Studies have shown this method works somewhat in the majority of patients who have tried it. However, the treatment comes with possible side effects of headaches.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)- While applying minoxidil- a drug approved for pattern hair loss in men and women- to your scalp before and during chemo hasn’t proven likely to prevent hair loss, some research shows it may speed up hair regrowth.
If you are undergoing chemo, you may be worrying about losing your hair and what your options are. Don’t worry. Several options exist to help you maintain a sense of normalcy and style during this difficult time. Talk to your doctor or support team about what options will work best for you.