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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

Wigs for Cancer Patients: Restoring Confidence and Comfort during Treatment

Written by Cancer Care Parcel on 
4th May, 2023
Updated: 13th May, 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Wigs can be a helpful option for people who are experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment.

Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Whilst it can cause distress and impact a patient's self-esteem, wigs can be an effective option to help patients cope with hair loss. They can provide a renewed sense of confidence and comfort during a challenging time.

This comprehensive article explores the different types of wigs available, including synthetic wigs, human hair wigs, and wiglets. It also covers important factors to consider when choosing a wig, such as the fit, style, and material.

But first, let's discuss how to get them.

How can you get a wig if you are a cancer patient?

In the UK, the NHS provides free wigs for cancer patients, and in the USA, there are insurance coverage options, charitable organizations, and financial assistance programs available to help cancer patients obtain wigs. This is discussed in more detail below :-

Are wigs free for cancer patients?

If you are having difficulty affording a wig during cancer treatment, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare team for recommendations and guidance. They may be able to help you find resources to help you afford a wig. Different countries also have different provisions

In the UK

There are a few options available to help individuals afford a wig during cancer treatment in the UK.

  1. NHS wig provision: The National Health Service (NHS) provides wigs for cancer patients free of charge. Wigs are provided through local NHS trusts and can be obtained through a referral from a healthcare professional.
  2. Charitable organizations: There are several charitable organizations in the UK that provide wigs for cancer patients free of charge or at a reduced cost. These organizations may have specific eligibility requirements, so it is important to check with them directly to see if you qualify for assistance.
  3. Private insurance: Some private insurance plans may cover the cost of a wig for cancer patients. It is a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see if wig coverage is included in your plan.
  4. Tax relief: In the UK, you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of a wig if you have received treatment for a physical or mental disability. This includes treatment for cancer. To claim tax relief, you will need to fill out a tax return and provide proof of your treatment and the cost of the wig. There are also other government benefits for people with cancer in the UK. And your healthcare provider should be able to let you know what they are.

In the US

In the United States, wigs are generally not free for cancer patients, but there are a few options available to help individuals afford a wig during cancer treatment.

  1. Insurance coverage: Some insurance plans in the US cover the cost of a wig for cancer patients. It is a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see if wig coverage is included in your plan.
  2. Charitable organizations: There are several charitable organizations in the US that provide wigs for cancer patients free of charge or at a reduced cost. These organizations may have specific eligibility requirements, so it is important to check with them directly to see if you qualify for assistance.
  3. Tax relief: In the US, you may be able to claim tax deductions on the cost of a wig if you have received treatment for a physical or mental disability. This includes treatment for cancer. To claim a tax deduction, you will need to itemize your deductions on your tax return and provide proof of your treatment and the cost of the wig.
  4. Financial assistance programs: Some hospitals and cancer centers offer financial assistance programs to help individuals afford the cost of a wig. These programs may have specific eligibility requirements, so it is important to check with your healthcare team to see if you qualify for assistance.

If you are having difficulty affording a wig during cancer treatment, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare team for recommendations and guidance. They may be able to help you find resources to help you afford a wig.

What type of wig is best for cancer patients?

There are several types of wigs that may be suitable for cancer patients, and the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Here are a few types of wigs to consider:

Human hair wigs:

Human hair wigs can be a good choice for cancer patients who want a natural-looking and versatile wig. These wigs are made from real human hair, which can be styled and treated like your own hair. They are generally more expensive than synthetic wigs, but may be more durable and long-lasting.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a human hair wig for cancer treatment:

  • Quality: It is important to choose a high-quality human hair wig to ensure that it looks and feels natural. Look for wigs made from 100% human hair or a blend of human and synthetic fibers.
  • Style and color: Think about the style and color of the wig that you would like to wear. You may want to choose a wig that matches your natural hair color and texture, or you may want to try a new style or color.
  • Maintenance: Human hair wigs require more maintenance than synthetic wigs. They need to be washed, dried, and styled regularly to keep them in good condition. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for caring for your wig to ensure that it stays in good condition.

Synthetic wigs:

These wigs are made from synthetic fibers that are designed to mimic the look and feel of human hair. They are often less expensive and require less maintenance than human hair wigs, but may not look as natural.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a synthetic wig for cancer treatment:

  • Quality: It is important to choose a high-quality synthetic wig to ensure that it looks and feels natural. Look for wigs made from high-quality synthetic fibers that are designed to mimic the look and feel of human hair.
  • Style and color: Think about the style and color of the wig that you would like to wear. You may want to choose a wig that matches your natural hair color and texture, or you may want to try a new style or color.
  • Fit and comfort: It is important to choose a wig that fits well and feels comfortable to wear. The wig should be the correct size for your head and should stay in place without slipping.
  • Maintenance: Synthetic wigs require less maintenance than human hair wigs. They generally do not need to be washed and styled as frequently, but they may need to be brushed and fluffed to keep them in good condition. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for caring for your wig to ensure that it stays in good condition.

Wiglets:

  • Wiglets, also known as hair toppers or top pieces, are smaller wigs that can be used to add volume or coverage to the hair. They are a good choice for individuals who have thinning hair or want to add some fullness to their natural hair. Wiglets can be attached to the natural hair using clips, combs, or adhesive strips, and can be removed easily when needed. There are a few things to consider when choosing a wiglet for cancer treatment:
  • Quality: It is important to choose a high-quality wiglet to ensure that it looks and feels natural. Look for wiglets made from high-quality materials that are designed to blend in with your natural hair.
  • Style and color: Think about the style and color of the wiglet that you would like to wear. You may want to choose a wiglet that matches your natural hair color and texture, or you may want to try a new style or color.
  • Fit and comfort: It is important to choose a wiglet that fits well and feels comfortable to wear. The wiglet should be the correct size for your head and should stay in place without slipping.
  • Maintenance: Wiglets generally require less maintenance than full wigs. They can be washed and styled like your natural hair, but may need to be brushed and fluffed to keep them in good condition. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for caring for your wiglet to ensure that it stays in good condition.

Scarf Wigs

Scarf wigs are a combination of a headscarf and a wig, providing a comfortable and stylish option for those who want to cover their head while also having a wig-like appearance. Scarf wigs typically have a built-in cap with hair attached to it, which can be styled to the wearer's liking. They are often made with soft and breathable materials, such as cotton or bamboo, which are gentle on the scalp. Scarf wigs can be a great choice for those who want an alternative to traditional wigs or who prefer a more natural look.

When buying a scarf wig, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Material: Scarf wigs can be made of synthetic or natural materials, such as human hair. Consider the pros and cons of each option, such as cost, durability, and ease of maintenance.
  2. Style: Scarf wigs come in various styles and colors. Consider a style that matches your natural hair or choose a new style that you've always wanted to try.
  3. Comfort: Make sure the scarf wig fits your head comfortably and securely. Look for a scarf wig with adjustable straps or bands to ensure a snug fit.
  4. Versatility: Scarf wigs can be worn in different ways, such as with or without a hat or headband. Consider your lifestyle and daily activities to determine the best style and versatility for you.

Hairpieces:

Hairpieces are smaller pieces of hair that can be added to the natural hair to add volume or coverage. They are a good choice for individuals who have thinning hair or want to add some fullness to their natural hair. Hairpieces can be attached to the natural hair using clips, combs, or adhesive strips, and can be removed easily when needed. These are different from wiglets as aiglets can be secured with combs, clips, or adhesive tapes, while hairpieces usually have a base that is attached to the scalp using clips, adhesive tapes, or a combination of both.

As with all the types of hair choices above it is important to consider the quality, style, colour, fit, comfort and maintenance when you buy. The hairpiece should be the correct size for your head and should stay in place without slipping and can be washed and styled like your natural hair.

How Do Cancer Wigs Stay On Your Head

Choosing and fitting your wig

Choosing a wig that fits well is important for comfort and a natural look. To choose a wig that fits well, you should measure your head size and then look for wigs that come in sizes that match your measurements. You can also consider wigs with adjustable straps or elastic bands for a customizable fit. Additionally, try on wigs to ensure they sit snugly on your head without slipping or feeling too tight. You should also check that the wig's ear tabs align with your ears, and the nape of the wig rests comfortably against your neck.

But, don't panic! As a cancer patient, you should be able to get professional help from a wig specialist at a wig fitting.

At the wig fitting, the wig specialist will measure your head and discuss the options available to you based on your needs and preferences. They will help you choose a wig that suits your style, face shape, and skin tone, and show you how to put it on and care for it. You will have the opportunity to try on different wigs and see how they look and feel. The specialist will also make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the wig fits well and is comfortable to wear. They will provide advice on styling the wig and may suggest additional accessories, such as wig caps or adhesive tapes, to help keep the wig in place.

How do cancer wigs stay on your head?

Cancer wigs are designed to stay in place on your head without slipping or shifting. They can be secured using a variety of methods, depending on the type of wig and the preferences of the wearer.

  1. Wig caps: Some wigs come with a built-in wig cap that fits snugly around the head to help keep the wig in place. The wig is then placed on top of the wig cap and secured using clips, combs, or other fasteners.
  2. Adhesive strips or tapes: Some people use adhesive strips or tapes to help keep their wig in place. These strips can be placed around the hairline or on the scalp to provide additional support and hold the wig in place.
  3. Elastic bands: Some wigs come with elastic bands that can be adjusted to fit around the head and help keep the wig in place. These bands can be hidden under the wig for a more natural look.
  4. Combs or clips: Many wigs come with combs or clips that can be used to secure the wig to the scalp. These fasteners can be placed around the hairline or at the crown of the head to help keep the wig in place.

Tips for wearing a wig

Wearing a wig for the first time can be a new and unfamiliar experience, and it may take some time to get used to it. Here are a few tips to help you during the first day or weeks of wearing a wig:

  1. Be patient: It may take some time to get used to wearing a wig, especially if you are not used to it. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to adjust to the wig.
  2. Get support: If you are feeling anxious or self-conscious about wearing a wig, consider seeking support from friends, family, or a support group. They can provide you with emotional and practical support to help you feel more comfortable and confident wearing a wig.
  3. Practice wearing the wig: It may be helpful to practice wearing the wig around the house before venturing out in public. This can help you get used to the wig and feel more comfortable and confident wearing it.
  4. Care for your wig: Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for caring for and styling your wig to ensure that it stays in good condition. This may include washing, drying, and styling the wig according to the specific instructions provided
 Wearing A Wig

Our top 5 online places to get a wig when you have cancer

In the UK

  1. Cancer Hair Care - https://www.cancerhaircare.co.uk/
  2. Trendco - https://www.trendco.co.uk/
  3. Aderans Hair Centre - https://www.aderanshaircentre.co.uk/
  4. Natural Image Wigs - https://www.naturalimagewigs.co.uk/

In the US

  1. American Cancer Society: https://www.tlcdirect.org/
  2. Headcovers Unlimited: https://www.headcovers.com/
  3. Wigs.com: https://www.wigs.com/
  4. Headcovers Unlimited: https://www.headcovers.com/cancer-wigs/

In conclusion, choosing the right wig involves considering factors such as the type of wig, fit, style, and material. It is also essential to know how to care for and maintain the wig properly. By following the tips and advice in this article, cancer patients can find the right wig to help them feel like themselves again and focus on their recovery.

Remember, cancer treatment may be tough, but it doesn't have to rob you of your self-confidence and dignity.

Further reading

How Chemotherapy Affects Your Skin And What You Can Do About It

Everything You Need To Know About Radiotherapy And Chemo Mouth Sores

Chemo Hair Loss: Understanding and Coping with a Common Side Effect of Cancer Treatment

We strongly advise you to talk with a health care professional about specific medical conditions and treatments. The information on our site is meant to be helpful and educational but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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