Hair loss from chemotherapy or radiation happens when hair follicles are weakened by the treatment. This causes hair to fall out much more quickly than it normally would. This side effect can be a distressing but there are many resources to help individuals experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment.

Build a Community of Support

Reach out to family and friends. Often people want to help, but don’t know how. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to a wig fitting. Also, expressing how you feel to someone you trust can help you feel more in control.

Seek emotional support. Talking to others who have experienced hair loss, or to individuals who have professional experience in the matter, will help you during this difficult period. Individual counseling, face-to-face and online support groups, and patient-to-patient networks are available to help you cope emotionally. CancerCare provides free counseling and support groups led by professional oncology social workers.

Talk to your health care team. Writing down questions prior to appointments and bringing someone with you to take notes can help ensure that you are well-prepared and informed. Before starting treatment, ask your doctor the following questions:

  • Is hair loss a possible side effect of my treatment?
  • How can I protect my head when my hair falls out?
  • When can I expect my hair to grow back?
  • When should I consider getting a wig?

Hair Loss Resources

Having a wig is one way of taking control. Here are organizations that provide resources for individuals experience hair loss due to a cancer diagnosis:

CancerCare
www.cancercare.org
800‑813‑HOPE (4673)

CancerCare is the leading national organization providing free support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical and financial challenges of cancer.

CancerCare’s Wig Clinic recognizes that appearance-related effects of cancer treatment can be difficult for many women. The Wig Clinic aims to empower women diagnosed with cancer to look and feel their best during treatment and beyond; to cope with dignity and confidence.

This is an opportunity for women diagnosed with any type of cancer who are receiving chemotherapy to receive a free wig. We provide new wigs in a variety of lengths, colors and styles. During the individual 30-minute fitting, women have the opportunity to try on different wigs with assistance from a wig fitter. An oncology social worker is also present to provide support. Basic wig care is discussed, although we do not have the capacity to cut or style wigs ourselves.

CancerCare’s New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island offices offer free wig fittings by appointment.

Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation
www.kristylasch.org
412-872-4125

The Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation provides financial assistance for medical expenses to women under age 30 living with breast cancer.

Locks of Love
www.locksoflove.org
888-896-1588

Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 21 who are experiencing long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Lolly’s Locks
www.lollyslocks.org
240-428-1985

Lolly’s Locks provides high-quality wigs to cancer patients who cannot otherwise afford them. To qualify for assistance, person must be a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, and suffering from hair loss as a result. Applications are available on their website or can be mailed.

The Look Good Feel Better Program
www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org
800-227-2345

The Look Good Feel Better program is designed to help people cope with the effects that cancer treatment can have on their appearance. Workshops include professional advice on how to deal with hair loss using wigs, scarves, hats, hairpieces, and other accessories.

Where There’s A Need, Inc.
www.wheretheresaneed.org
866-803-6095

Where There’s a Need, Inc. provides hair scarves for women and children who have experienced hair loss due to chemotherapy and radiation cancer treatment or other medical conditions.

Wigs for Kids
www.wigsforkids.org
440-333-4433

Wigs for Kids provides free wigs to children under the age of 18 who have lost their hair due to a medical condition.

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Last updated May 24, 2016

The information presented in this publication is provided for your general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are aware of your specific situation. We encourage you to take information and questions back to your individual health care provider as a way of creating a dialogue and partnership about your cancer and your treatment.

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