Hair loss can be traumatic
Losing your hair during cancer treatment can be very upsetting. For many women, hair loss is the most traumatic side effect of chemotherapy. Some women even decline chemotherapy due to the fear of hair loss. Be reassured that hair loss due to cancer treatment is usually temporary. There are many creative ways to deal with hair loss: wigs, turbans, scarves and hats. Save a clip of your own hair before you start chemotherapy so you’ll be able to match the color if you decided to get a wig.
Consider wearing a wig
Wigs can create the look of thick, healthy-looking hair. There are two types: ready-made synthetic wigs or custom-made human hair wigs. The cost of one wig can be between $150 - $1,000. Do some comparison shopping by trying on several styles and types before you decide on one. Your local American Cancer Society office may be able to provide you with a donated wig for free. Otherwise, call your health insurance company and inquire about reimbursement for a cranial prothesis. This is the term the insurance industry uses for providing a cancer patient with a wig. Most insurance companies provided coverage in the amount of $300 to $500 for reimbursement of a wig. Save your receipts and have your wig provider signed the appropriate insurance form.
Commercial hair dyes vs. organic hair color
Once your new hair grows back, you may be eager to color your hair again. Commercial hair dyes contain toxic chemicals that can damage your hair over time. Have you consider using organic hair color? Organic Color Systems makes hair color of certified organic extracts, natural ingredients and free of parabens. Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, deodorants, spray tanning solutions, makeup and toothpaste. The problem is they can be absorbed through the skin, blood and digestive system. Studies have shown our lymph nodes seem to collect the parabens. When biopsies are performed on breast cancer patients, many times parabens are detected in small samples of the tumor.
National Cancer Institute facts
If you’re still hesitant about making the switch to organic hair color, then take a moment to read these facts from the National Cancer Institute about commercial hair dyes:
- Over 5,000 different chemicals are used in hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in animals.
- Over the years, some epidemiologic (population) studies have found an increased risk of bladder cancer in hairdressers and barbers. A 2008 report of the Working Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that some of the chemicals these workers are exposed to occupationally are “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
- Some studies have indicated that people who began using hair dyes before 1980 have an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.