Women's Health

Wigs During Cancer Treatment: To Wear or Not To Wear?

Many cancer patients have to go through round after round of chemotherapy treatment during their recovery program. One of the most common side effects of the radiation is loss of hair, especially on the head. This can potentially lead to a lot of issues for cancer patients in terms of their self-esteem about their appearance.

Of course this does not have to be the case, and there is nothing wrong with hair loss in general, but many cancer patients choose to wear a wig or other hair implants after going through chemotherapy.

We are here to give you a few tips and tricks on deciding whether or not to wear a wig and how to go about finding the perfect one for you if you choose to wear one.

Should you wear a wig?

This is a question that every cancer patient experiencing hair loss likely goes through at some point. What it comes down to is personal preference. Do you feel like wearing a wig would make you happier? Would it make you feel better and give you more confidence? If the answer to those questions is yes, then it might be a good investment to start looking for a wig. On the other hand, some cancer patients aren't really bothered by hair loss and are perfectly fine with the way they are. In this case they may not want to wear a wig. Some cancer patients even see hair loss as a marker for their accomplishment in powering through treatments and surviving a horrific disease. 

None of these viewpoints are better than the other; it is all about the patient and how they feel. If you do decide that you want to wear a wig after treatment, it can be difficult to filter through all the countless options you have. The last thing you want is to go through the trouble of finding a wig only for it not to fit or end up looking fake and lowering self-image even more. That's why we have a few tips on how to find a wig that will make you look, and more importantly feel great.

How to find the right wig

If getting a wig is important to you, you don't want to be careless when picking one out. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you find the right wig:

  • Talk to your insurance provider: Many insurance plans provide for "cranial prosthesis" which is a fancy way of saying wigs. Quality wigs can be quite pricey, so it is definitely worth looking into your medical insurance to see if you can get help with the costs of a wig.
  • Go for a wig fitting before treatment: If you know you are going to have to undergo radiation therapy and might experience hair loss, it is probably a good idea to go to a wig stylist and get fitted for a wig just in case. This is great because the stylist can often make the wig based off of your natural hair length, color, and style. Having just a picture or even nothing to show them makes it much harder for the stylist to find you a wig that you will like. This way if you end up needing a wig you will have one that is made specifically for you.
  • Take your wig to a wig fitter: Sometimes patients will not go to a wig fitter before treatment for one reason or another. Even if you end up just buying a wig, it is recommended that you take it to a wig fitter. The fitter will be able to cut, thin, and adjust the wig so that it will fit and look even better. Some patients make the mistake of taking the wig to their normal hair stylist. In reality, hair stylists don't often specialize in adjusting wigs and won't be able to improve and adjust the wig as well as a fitter could.
  • Don't rule out synthetic: Many people choose to forego wigs with synthetic hair for fear of it looking fake. In reality, most modern day synthetic wigs are made to look as real as possible, and most people are unable to tell the difference between the two. Synthetic wigs also have the advantages of being lighter and cooler than wigs with normal hair, as well as requiring significantly less upkeep. Synthetic wigs are much easier to straighten or curl, and your hair is more likely to stay in place. With everything else going on in a cancer patient's life, it is nice to not have to add wig upkeep onto the list of things to worry about. The biggest disadvantage with synthetic wigs is that they are often more expensive, which can be problematic with all the medical bills and costs associated with cancer treatments.
  • Look for a wig with a cap/liner: One problem that wig wearers often face is that the wig will become incredibly itchy and bothersome during the day. Sometimes this is due to the material of the wig, but other times it could just be a case of a patient having a sensitive scalp. This problem is easily solved by getting a wig with a liner or a cap. This is often made up of a soft fabric that makes the wig more comfortable and prevents any itching. These wigs may be a bit more costly, but not having to readjust the wig or constantly scratch at your scalp is well worth the price increase.
  • Don't be afraid to try something new: While some patients may prefer their wigs to match their previous style and length, it might be a good idea to change things up and go for a new look after treatment. Finding a new look that makes you look and feel better can go a long way in getting you through the trials and tribulations of cancer treatment and recovery. This is especially true if you weren't crazy about or were even self-conscious about your original hairstyle. Treat this as an opportunity for a new start! That being said, if you liked or even loved your old hair style, there is nothing wrong with trying to keep things very similar. Once again, finding the right wig is often up to the patient and their preferences.

Final thoughts

We hope that this article will help any cancer patients who are thinking about getting a wig due to hair loss. We know that going through cancer treatment is hard enough, so worrying about finding the right wig should not be of concern. Remember that the choice of whether to wear a wig or what type of wig to get should always be left up to the patient (unless there are some sort of health-related complications of course). At the end of the day, it is their head and their own self-image on the line. The wig should make them feel more at ease and more confident, not more fearful or dejected. For more information on cancer treatments, clinical developments, tips on getting through treatment, and more, be sure to visit the rest of our website.