Frequently Asked Questions

Chemotherapy FAQ

Q: Do you think it’s a possibility for me to lose my hair during chemotherapy?

A: One of the major concerns for women who are undergoing chemotherapy is the loss of their hair. We do know that while some women lose all of their hair, there are others which will only lose some. Each individual reacts differently to each drug. A drug like Cytoxan is known to cause mild thinning. Women taking a much more potent drug like Taxol or Adrimycin will probably result in total hair loss. We find it important to speak with your physician and discuss side effects prior to beginning treatment.

Q: At which point should I think to purchase a wig?

A: The ideal time to begin purchase on a wig is after your physician prescribes your treatment. You will want to make your purchase of the wig at least one to two weeks prior to starting chemotherapy. It is most helpful when you bring in pictures of how your hair looked in the previous years.

Q: Why do I need a human hair wig?

A: Although a human hair wig or as we like to say “garment” is more expensive it is also the most popular because of its versatility. Unlike synthetic hair, you can custom color the hair to match you own natural color, prior to hair loss. Human hair is much easier to style as well. You would simply use the same styling tools you did before. With synthetic hair you are limited in the participation of everyday activities, human hair allows you to keep the same pace.

Q: Pros and cons of synthetic hair?

A: For those women who would like a less maintenance and less expensive garment, synthetic is the way to go. Synthetic wigs are much easier to clean than human hair and will hold their style longer. Synthetic hair allows for more color choices, however, it is very rarely possible to match your natural hair color exactly. Many women who chose to go the synthetic route, usually end up with a color they are not used to. Color on a synthetic wig cannot be changed. One of the major drawbacks to synthetic wigs is that you must use extreme caution when doing things such as opening the dishwasher or cooking. Synthetic wigs cannot be styled at home.

Q: How is the maintenance of human hair?

A: One of the major myths about human hair garments is that it is difficult to maintain the style. This, of course, is not true at all, there is a little bit more maintenance involved when you compare it to synthetic. Styling a human hair wig is exactly the same as styling your own hair, with the minor detail that the garment is not on your head during the style process. Some women find it easier to fix the hair exactly how they want. If you used curling irons, flat irons, or blow dryers before your hair loss you will not have an issue styling the garment.

Q: Would a full-lace fashion wig be a good fit for me?

A: No. This is probably the biggest mistake a woman can make when purchasing a wig made from human hair. Many of the full-lace wigs and a few of the lace front wigs you see worn by celebrities are a realistic product, but these wigs need strong adhesives and tapes to bond with the scalp. Many of these adhesives and tapes cause severe irritation while on chemo treatments. If someone tells you otherwise, chances are they do not have much experience with working with medical patients. When buying your wig it is important to know the credibility of the salon or store which you are purchasing from. Experience and years of practice are a great way to start.

Q: What about changing the style or color when I choose my wig?

A: Chemotherapy caused side effects, mostly the hair-loss, are difficult to deal with all on its own. Many women deem it difficult to change color or style without the added stress of chemo. Wearing a garment is a difficult transition all on its own. Combing all this stress and adjusting all at once can be difficult even on a good day. The easiest way to make the transition is to recreate your own style and color schematics before treatments begin.

Q: How long should you wear the wig?

A: This all depends on the type and duration of treatment and your own comfort level. After about 14 days of treatment many women begin to lose their hair. The hair loss will continue until about 3 weeks after your last treatment. Most woman on average will wear their garment at least a year. Depending on your comfort level with short hair you can decrease this time. With the technological advancement today in hair extensions and hair pieces the time in a garment is really difficult to determine precisely.

Q: Is it possible for insurance to cover the wig?

A: For those fortunate enough who have exceptional insurance coverage their policy will cover cranial prosthesis. Each is dealt with on an individual case. There are so many different policies out there it is difficult to say for sure, some coverage can be 100% others nothing. This part is up to you to call your insurance provider and see how much, if any, coverage is given towards a cranial prosthesis. If you refer to it as a wig 99% of the time the insurance will tell you no, so make sure you ask for coverage on a cranial prosthesis.

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