Wigs for Cancer Patients: Choosing the Right Wig to Wear

Wigs for Cancer Patients: Choosing the Right Wig to Wear

Hair loss is one of the most personal adverse effects of chemotherapy.

Some people are happy to wait for their hair to grow back, but others experience severe emotional, social, or cultural distress.

Many patients undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments wear head coverings both during hair loss and during hair growth.

They frequently employ:

  • Wraps
  • Turbans
  • Shawls Hats

Some people opt for wigs or hairpieces. As wigs are not deemed medically required before or after cancer treatment, they are usually not covered by original Medicare or Parts A and B.

Wigs for cancer patients are covered by several private insurers and Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.

There are a few methods to get a free wig for hair loss brought on by cancer treatment, even if wigs aren't covered by your plan or you don't have health insurance.

Are hair wigs a cost-effective solution to protect your hair? Is the expense justified, considering that you have medical costs to pay?

These are only a handful of the many questions we assume are on your thoughts at this very moment.

This blog will help to dispel any last-minute questions and help you decide if wearing a wig is the best option for your chemotherapy experience.

hair loss from chemotherapy

What Type Of Wig Is Best For Cancer Patients?

A common side effect of cancer treatment is hair loss, leading many patients to wear wigs until their hair grows back.

Human hair, synthetic fibers, or a mix of the two are used to make wigs.

Selecting the ideal wig can be challenging.

The ideal wig for you, if you decide to wear one, will:

  • Seems natural
  • Fit and feel good
  • Cost friendly

It's important to visit a store that provides privacy and individualized care, such a wig shop with salespeople who have expertise working with women who have cancer or hair loss.

Make sure you ask these three questions when you go wig shopping:

  • What type of hair is used to make the wig?
  • How do they make a wig?
  • In what way is the wig attached to the scalp?

Does Insurance Pay For Wigs For Cancer Patients?

Your health insurance may entirely or partially cover the expense of a wig.

But rather than calling them wigs, insurance firms that cover them will refer to them as "Cranial Prosthesis."

You might be able to get insurance reimbursement by following these procedures.

  1. Consult your physician to get a prescription for a cranial prosthesis. For medical purposes, the prescription should state "Cranial/Hair Prosthesis." alopecia brought on by radiation or chemotherapy.
  2. Purchase your wig.
  3. Obtain a receipt for the filling of the above mentioned prescription from your hair salon, specialty store, or medical facility.
  4. File a reimbursement claim with your health insurance and be ready for it to be rejected. If you're unsure about the process, visit the website of your insurance provider or give them customer support a call to find out how to file a claim and get your money back.
  5. If your application is rejected, resubmit it with a photo of yourself without hair and ask for a medical review board review.

Forward a fresh grievance to the manager.

How Much Does A Wig Cost For Cancer Patients?

The type of wig you select, specifically synthetic or human hair, as well as its length, color, and texture, will determine its cost.

The cost of a wig can range from $300 to $3,000 or more.

There are many factors that go into the cost. Real medical grade wigs have long production times and often use human hair. These are going to be the best option for cancer patients.

The difference in the type of wig cap used will determine the cost of the medical wig as some wigs take up to 80 hours to make by hand. 

cancer wig patient

Where Can Cancer Patients Purchase Wigs?

Look for wig stores in your phone book and in the local region.

If privacy is a concern, inquire if the shop offers one-on-one assistance to cancer patients selecting wigs.

Some might even have a special space where people can try on wigs. Asking other members of your local cancer support group where to get a wig can be a good idea.

Inquire about wig purchasing possibilities from your treatment center's social worker or nurses as well.

What Should I Do To Prepare For Hair Loss?

Anticipating and being ready for hair loss resulting from chemotherapy might help reduce anxiety.

Here are some strategies to help you get ready for chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Investigate Scalp Cooling Systems And Cold Caps

During chemotherapy infusions, patients are required to wear tightly fitting hat-like devices called manual cold caps and scalp cooling systems, which are filled with a cold gel or liquid coolant.

During chemotherapy, these devices have allowed many people to maintain a significant portion of their hair.

Before Starting Chemotherapy, Think About Getting Your Hair Chopped Short

Not everyone finds that cutting their hair before beginning chemotherapy helps them adjust to having less hair and makes managing shedding easier, but for some, it does.

In addition, a wig will fit better over shorter hair if you want to get one.

Obtain Some Headwear That You Like

Scarves, hats, and turbans can keep your head warm and shield it from the sun, and they can also help you hide hair loss if that's your preference.

It can be useful to have a few head coverings on hand when you start to lose your hair, even though you may not know at first which ones would work best for you.

Choose A Wig Prior To Beginning Chemotherapy

If you believe you might want one, choosing a wig before chemotherapy can have benefits.

You may feel less hurried, have more energy, and find it easier to adapt the wig's color and style to your own hair.

cancer patient losing hair

How Long Does It Take To Lose Your Hair During Chemotherapy?

Usually, two to four weeks after starting treatment, hair starts to fall out.

It may come out gradually or in large clumps very rapidly. Hair will probably be visible in your shower or sink drain, in your brushes or comb and on your pillow. It's possible that your scalp hurts.

Hair loss persists during the course of treatment and for a few weeks following it. The course of your treatment will determine whether you experience hair thinning or entirely bald. Discuss the medications you'll be receiving for chemotherapy with your medical team.

They can let you know what to anticipate.

When Does Your Hair Start to Come Out?

Pay attention to your own needs. Use gentle products and try to wash your hair as infrequently as possible.

Observe good scalp hygiene. To protect it from the heat and cold, wrap it in a scarf or hat, and use sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least thirty. Be kind to yourself if hair loss from chemotherapy brings up difficult feelings.

Some individuals going through this experience anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, or a mix of these feelings. You might want to talk about this with a counselor who works with cancer patients or in a support group.

Allow yourself space to process and deal with whatever arises.

What Is The Best Way To Care For Hair During Chemotherapy?

The majority of the time, hair loss cannot be stopped. Still, it is manageable.

To help you deal with hair loss while undergoing treatment, think about doing the following:

Before Chemotherapy

  • Treat your hair with gentleness. Make it a practice to treat your hair with kindness. Never color, relax, perm, or bleach your hair. It may become weaker as a result. Try your hair as much as possible to air dry. Aim to stay away from heating tools like hot rollers and curling irons. For a little while longer during treatment, strengthening your hair now may increase its likelihood of remaining in your head.
  • Think about getting a haircut. In general, short hair appears fuller than long hair. If you have short hair, it won't be as visible when your hair falls out. Additionally, cutting your long hair short could make the switch to complete hair loss easier.
  • Make plans to cover your head. This is the time to consider head coverings such as scarves, wigs, and other items. It's up to you if you decide to cover up your hair loss with a head covering. However, planning for it now is simpler than waiting till later. Request that your physician provide a prescription for a wig. In the United States, health insurance may pay for wig expenses.

During Chemotherapy

  • Take care of the hair that remains. Throughout your chemotherapy treatment, keep up your moderate hair regimen. Apply a gentle bristle brush. Only wash your hair when absolutely required.
  • Think about using a mild shampoo. Think about shaving your head. Some patients claim that when their hair is falling out, their scalps feel sensitive, itchy, and irritated when receiving treatments. You can avoid shedding and lessen irritation by shaving your head.
  • Keep your scalp safe. If your head is exposed to the sun or chilly air, wear a head covering or sunscreen. During treatment, your scalp can become sensitive, and readily irritated by intense cold or sunlight. If you have little or no hair, you may feel cold. Covering your head could help you feel better at ease.

After Chemotherapy

  • Maintain your mild hair care regimen. The new growth on your head will be quite delicate. Heating appliances and styling products could more readily damage it. Delay coloring, relaxing, or bleaching your newly grown hair until it becomes more resilient. Processing may aggravate your sensitive scalp and harm your newly acquired hair.
  • Make an effort to be patient. Your hair will probably grow back slowly and may not appear exactly the same the first time. However, development takes time. Your body needs time to heal from the harm your cancer treatment has caused.

What Are Some Ways To Hide Hair Loss During Chemotherapy?

Whether or not to cover your head when your hair falls out is a personal choice.

Hair is often connected to one's health and sense of self. They decide to wear wigs to keep that appearance. Some decide on scarves and caps.

Others decide not to wear any headwear at all. To find the ideal head covering, ask a hospital social worker or your healthcare provider about local services.

For more information on buying medical wigs for cancer patients, contact Wig Medical.

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