Choose A New Look Or Keep Your Current Do
While the safest choice is a wig that fits your current style, some women take wig shopping to the next level to explore a totally new look. This could mean going blond for the first time or trying something for shock value, like dark cobalt blue. If you want to experiment with different styles or colors, buy more than one wig so you can change depending on your mood, your outfit, or the occasion.
What Is The Quality Of A Free Wig
The quality of our free wigs vary. If we give away a wig that was returned to us due to an incorrect size or color, the condition of the wig is usually like-new. Wigs that we purchase from donations are always synthetic and brand new since demand for free wigs is high, we cannot use donations for expensive wigs. If you are being sponsored by an individual or organization, the wig you receive is based on what your sponsor purchases for you.
National Directory Of Free Wigs For Cancer Patients
While hair loss can be a really exasperating, what-else-do-I-have-to-deal-with side effect of treatment, programs like these can help a bit to ease the burden of this frustrating aspect of a cancer diagnosis. Please visit our national Free Wigs for Cancer Patients directory here for an updated list of all providers.
Recommended Reading: Does Breast Cancer Weaken The Immune System
Finding The Right Headwear For You
The Ministry of Health provides a subsidy for adults with temporary hair loss. This could cover the cost of scarves/hats/turbans or a synthetic wig.
The subsidy is $408.88 over a one-year period. If your wig costs more than this, you will need to pay the remainder. The subsidy can be claimed if you are a New Zealand citizen or ordinarily a resident in New Zealand and if you are undergoing a treatment for breast cancer that causes hair loss. To claim the subsidy you will need a Medical Certificate with your NHI number from your breast cancer specialist or oncology nurse.
The Wigs and Hairpieces Service Payment is administered by HealthPac on behalf of the Ministry of Health and is paid directly to the supplier of the product or to you, if youve already purchased the product. For more information on the wigs subsidy please visit The Ministry of Healths Wigs Subsidy or contact the HealthPac enquiry line: Freephone 0800 458 448.
Your specialist team may provide you with a list of wig suppliers in your area. Alternatively, check out the wigs, scarves and headwear category on the Breast Cancer Services Directory, or contact your local Cancer Society for help. When you have chosen your wig or headwear, the supplier will make the claim to HealthPac for you, or you can make it yourself if you prefer.
This webinar looks at preparing for hair loss during cancer treatment, caring for your hair during and after treatment, and scalp cooling to prevent hair loss.
More Resources For Breast Cancer Patients And Survivors
1UponCancer put together a list of Freebies and Discounts for Cancer Patients. The list includes a variety of free and discounted goods and services such as basic needs, prostheses, classes, gas, housecleaning, pampering, retreats, and more.
For example, Air Care Alliance ACA flies patients to treatments at no charge. Breast Cancer Charities gives qualifying breast cancer patients up to $500 towards rent or utilities. Cricketts Answer For Cancer gives breast cancer patients free Mastectomy massage, other massage therapies, facial, manicure, a basket of pampering products.
Recommended Reading: How Many Rounds Of Chemo For Breast Cancer
What To Expect At Your Wig Fitting Appointment
Choosing and being fitted with a wig can be a time when you have to face the reality of losing your hair, and it can be upsetting. Experienced wig specialists understand this and will do their best to make you feel at ease.
Most wig fitters have a private room where you can be fitted and try on wigs, but if not, dont be afraid to ask for one.
You may find it helpful to take a relative or friend with you for support and to help you choose.
Some wig fitters may offer telephone or video appointments where they are able to offer a wig fitting service.
If its important to you to match your wig to your hair colour and style, you may want to choose one before your hair falls out. Or you may decide to have a complete change.
If you havent yet lost your hair the wig should be quite tight when fitted so that it gives a good fit later on. This can be adjusted later if needed.
How To Prepare For A Wig
If you think you might want to get a wig, its helpful to take some steps to prepare before you start chemotherapy or another treatment that may cause hair loss. For example:
Find or take a couple of pictures of your preferred hairstyle. This will make it easier to find a wig thats closest to your color, length, and style if you decide thats what you want.
Cut your hair short. It’s less traumatic to lose short clumps of hair than long ones, and it’s easier to fit a wig over less hair. Also, if you get used to short hair, you wont have to wait as long while your hair is growing back to feel like yourself.
Consider picking out a wig before you start a treatment that can cause hair loss. Youll have more energy, and you can get used to wearing the wig in trial sessions, alternating with your own hair.
How do you find a wig? There are a number of options:
Wherever you decide to shop for a wig, be sure to find out about return and exchange policies in advance. You may want to try on several wigs at home and return some of them, or you may decide after trying some on that you dont want to opt for a wig at all. So, its useful to know if there will be restocking fees or other limitations on returns.
You May Like: Can You Get Breast Cancer In Your 30s
Additional Avenues To Try
If one of the options discussed here does not work for you, there are some other options you can try. Any organization that provides free wigs to cancer patients will have guidelines someone must meet to qualify for a free wig. However, just because an individual does not fit the guidelines for one organization, does not mean that he or she won’t meet the criteria of another one.
Try contacting individuals, groups or corporations such as:
The keys are to be persistent and to explore every avenue for getting a free hair prosthesis. If possible, do your research and try to locate a source for a free wig before you have to start chemotherapy or other medical treatments for cancer as your energy level and stamina will be greater.
Local Resources For Free Wigs
Searching for a free wig for someone who is losing hair or has suffered hair loss due to cancer can be challenging, but it is important not to become discouraged. In addition to national and local organizations with wig services and wig banks, there may be other resources in your local area. A few examples include:
Recommended Reading: What Are Your Chances Of Getting Breast Cancer
Will I Lose My Hair
Hair loss from chemotherapy is different for everyone. Your oncologist will be able to give you more information about whether this will happen to you.
After starting chemotherapy, if your hair is going to fall out, it will probably do so gradually at first, and then more rapidly over the next few weeks. You may find that youll feel cold, even in summer, so having a beanie for day and night-time use is a good idea.
The good news is that your hair will start growing again once your treatment is completed. It will return initially as very fine, baby-fluff hair, and then gradually grow out. Most women find their hair comes back in a slightly different colour, and is often wiry for some time until their natural hair texture returns.
Some women find that wigs, headscarves or turbans are a comforting option while waiting for their hair to grow back so this is a choice that you may like to consider.
Shave Your Head Before You Rock Your Wig
Whether you wear a short do or not, when it’s time to put on your wig, you’re going to have to buzz your head. “The correct way to do it is to use a men’s clipper and take the guard off, which is called a zero and will give you a five-o’clock shadow,” says Cartier. Don’t use a regular razor, which can cause ingrown hairs and irritation.
Whitehurst agrees that standard razors are a no-no: “It’s amazing how many doctors tell women not to shave their legs but forget to tell them not to shave their head,” she says. Regularly shaving your head can also prevent locks falling out while sleeping, which can cause irritation and itchiness on the scalp.
Read Also: What Is Adjuvant Therapy For Breast Cancer
Does Health Insurance Cover Wigs
Private health insurance may or may not cover wigs for people undergoing cancer treatment. A person should contact their insurance company to check for coverage before purchasing a wig.
The ACS recommends asking a doctor for a prescription for a cranial prosthesis or hair prosthesis rather than a wig, as insurance companies may cover some of the costs.
Medicare parts A and B do not cover wigs for people undergoing cancer treatment, as the organization does not recognize wigs as a medical necessity. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer limited coverage. A person should check what their Medicare plan covers before purchasing a wig.
Hair Replacement & Hair Styling
Hair replacement is a difficult issue for most patients. If you find your cancer treatment affecting your hair, please know there are caring stylists who can help. Below youll find both free services and paid providers who help those who lose hair during cancer therapy. Many stylists work by appointment, so please call first.
If you choose a paid provider, check with your insurance carrier about coverage. Wigs, like other prostheses, may be covered under durable medical equipment. Your insurance may require that you purchase through a specific vendor.
Read Also: What Of Women Get Breast Cancer
Look Good Feel Better Program
Cancer patients can get free makeup and cosmetics. The Look Good Feel Better program gives free makeup to cancer patients.
Just before I started chemo for breast cancer I attended one of these sessions. The Look Good Feel Better program is a 2-hour, hands-on workshop that gives cancer patients tips for hair loss, nail care, makeup, clothing, and more.
I came home with a large cosmetic bag filled with all kinds of beauty goodies.
Unfortunately, The Look Good Feel Better program is no longer funded by the American Cancer Society. Now very few Cancer Centers offer this program. Contact yours to see if they still do. Also, keep in mind these programs can also benefit from donations.
Children With Hair Loss
Children With Hair Loss is a 5013 organization dedicated to being a hair replacement resource for disadvantaged children with medically induced hair loss from illnesses such as cancer or due to burns.
Children must be under 21 years old and must furnish proof of their date of birth. Documentation of a hair loss due to medical reasons and a request for hair replacement form are needed to request a wig. Hair replacement forms can be completed online or and submitted by mail.
Recommended Reading: Can Hormones Cause Breast Cancer
Can I Get An Nhs Wig
Synthetic wigs are available on the NHS. They are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, youll usually have to pay a charge for an NHS wig. Or you may qualify for a free wig if:
- You are an inpatient when the wig is supplied
- Your weekly income is low
- You or your partner are receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit or Universal Credit and meet the criteria
- You have an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
- You are named on a help with health costs certificate
If you are entitled to a free wig through the NHS, you can get this from your .
You may be entitled to a new wig on the NHS every six months if necessary. Your chemotherapy team or breast care nurse should be able to advise you on how to go about getting your replacement wig.
Some hospitals may give you a free synthetic wig even if you are not eligible for help towards the cost. To find out if youre entitled to a free wig, talk to your treatment team.
If you arent entitled to a free wig you can still get one through the NHS at a subsidised rate if you have a low income. To apply for this youll need an HC1 form, which you may be able to get from your hospital or from the NHS Business Services Authority.
If youre having treatment as a private patient the cost of a wig may be covered in your policy. Otherwise youll need to pay for one.
Getting Your Wig Professionally Styled
Wigs can be cut and styled to make them look more natural and feel more personal.
The hair in some wigs is packed very densely, which can give them a slightly unnatural look. This can be thinned out by trained hair professionals to make the wig look like your own hair.
Its a good idea to check that your hairdresser or wig specialist has experience of cutting wigs.
You can find a directory of wig cutting salons in your area at mynewhair.org
Also Check: Can Bras Cause Breast Cancer
Learn How To Wear Style And Care For Your Wig
Wearing a wig isn’t complicated, but proper alignment is key. “New wig wearers tend to have it too far down on their face,” says Whitehurst. “You need to push it back to where your original hairline was for it to look natural.”
Whether you opt for a synthetic or natural wig, learn how to care for your wig seek out special wig care products and wash a daily used wig every other week. Be sure to follow specific instructions on caring for your wig. Look Good Feel Better offers free hair-covering workshops that go over these sorts of details. You can search for one in your area or .
Cancer comes with a lot of changes, but if you choose the right wig and wear it correctly, your sense of style doesn’t have to suffer. “Oftentimes a woman will walk into the salon shaking and crying, so fearful of what’s to come, but we can turn that around,” says Cartier. “Ninety percent of them say, ‘It looks better than my own hair.'”
Helping Cancer Patients Regain Their Confidence
Cancer patients may have budgets that are ravaged by the expenses of treating this insidious disease, so receiving a no-cost wig may help relieve the financial burden as well as the emotional one of coping with hair loss during this traumatic period. Hair loss can be very traumatizing for cancer patients and they may lose self-confidence if they cannot afford a wig. An important reason so many organizations provide free wigs is so individuals living with cancer can regain their confidence during this difficult time.
You May Like: What Gene Is Associated With Breast Cancer
Where Can I Be Fitted For A Wig
Many hospitals have an appliance officer or specialist wig fitter who may be able to fit you with a wig or advise you about other wig suppliers. Ask your breast care nurse or chemotherapy nurse whats available in your area.
Your hospital may have a limited range. If you cannot find a suitable wig at your hospital, your treatment team may be able to recommend another wig supplier in your local area. If youre paying for your wig yourself you may prefer to go to a hairdresser, department store or wig retailer. This is usually more expensive.
How To Donate Your Hair
If you would like to donate your hair, the company Freedom Wigs in Dunedin will give a donation to a charity of your choice. Your hair must be at least 14 inches long and cannot have been bleached, dyed or permed. This is a fantastic programme, as your hair will improve the life of New Zealanders with alopecia, cancer-related baldness and other hair loss.
For further information:
Recommended Reading: Facts About Breast Cancer 2021
Quality Of Free Wigs For Cancer Patients
Each chapter of the American Cancer Society is operated independently so the quality of the free wigs you will receive can vary greatly. Most often, you will be provided with a budget quality wig. What can you do if your free wig is disappointing? We recommend having your wig thinned out and cut by a professional hair stylist. You will be surprised at what a good cut can do to improve the look! You may even be able to find a stylist who will do it for free or at a reduced price. Here are more expert tips on how to make your wig look natural.