Hair loss can be one of the most emotionally challenging issues for women undergoing chemotherapy. Even though hair loss is not physically painful and is only temporary, the experience can be very distressing for women, nonetheless. Many women feel like they lose their femininity and their sexuality when their hair falls out. Some women who lose their hair during chemotherapy may even be afraid that they will no longer be attractive to their husbands or partners.
The most important thing you can do to help cope with these emotions is to seek the support and love of your family and friends. Joining a cancer survivor support group where you can share your fears and concerns with other women who have gone through the same thing also can be very comforting.
Some women find it very helpful to prepare for the hair loss, before they even begin chemotherapy treatment. They may get a very short hair cut ahead of time, so they can get used to the idea and the look of not having a full head of hair. Other woman may want to take this opportunity to shop for wigs. You may want to even start wearing the wig before your hair begins to fall out, so that you can get used to how the wig feels and looks. Your local American Cancer Society chapter will be able to provide you with a list of local stores that sell wigs.
Be sure to check with your health insurance carrier, as many policies cover the cost of wigs for chemotherapy patients. Several resources for free or low-costs wigs are available for those who cannot afford to purchase a wig.
If you decide that wigs are not your thing, you may want to talk to other cancer patients about other options to wear, such as headscarves and hats. “Look Good, Feel Better” is a program sponsored jointly by the American Cancer Society and two beauty industry trade groups, which offers hosted seminars (Toll-free phone: 1-800-395-LOOK).