Frequently Asked Questions

Chemotherapy FAQ

Q: Does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

A: One of the major concerns for women undergoing chemotherapy is the loss of their hair. We know that while some women lose all of their hair, others 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 medication like Taxol or Adriamycin will probably result in total hair loss. We find it essential to speak with your physician and discuss side effects before beginning treatment.

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

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A: The ideal time to begin a 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 before starting chemotherapy. It is most helpful when you bring in pictures of how your hair looked in the previous years.

Q: Can you dye and style 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 your natural color before hair loss. Human hair is much easier to style as well. You would use the same styling tools you did before. You are limited in participation in everyday activities with synthetic hair, and human hair allows you to keep the same pace.

Q: Pros and cons of synthetic hair?

A: For those women who would like less maintenance and less expensive garment, synthetic is the way to go. Synthetic wigs are much easier to clean than human hair and hold their style longer. In addition, synthetic hair allows for more color choices. However, it is rarely possible to match your natural hair color exactly. Many women who choose synthetic wigs often wear an unfamiliar hair color that cannot change. They would have to purchase a new one and hope for a better outcome. Another significant drawback to synthetic wigs is that you must use extreme caution when doing things such as opening the dishwasher or cooking as any damage done cannot be fixed at home. These wigs are not able to be styled at home.

Q: How is the maintenance of human hair?

A: A significant myth about human hair wigs or garments is that it’s challenging to maintain the style. There’s a little bit more maintenance involved when you compare it to a synthetic wig. Styling a human hair wig is the same as styling your hair, with the minor detail that the garment is not on your head during the styling process. Some women find it easier to fix their hair exactly how they want. If you use 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, it 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 realistic products, 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 essential that the store or salon is credible. 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: The easiest way to transition is to recreate your unique style and color schematics before treatments begin.

Q: How long should you wear the wig?

A: Around fourteen days after the first chemo treatment, on average is when hair loss becomes noticeable. Of course, it ultimately depends on the type of treatment and duration. Hair loss continues about three weeks after your last treatment. Most woman, on average, will wear their garment for 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 hairpieces, the time in a garment is tough 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. Typically, each case is determined individually. There are so many different policies out there it is difficult to say for sure, some coverage can be 100% others nothing. We encourage you to call your insurance provider and see how much, if any, coverage is provided for 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. Using the correct terminology can make all the difference.

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