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Wig service gives regional Victorians with cancer confidence

Monday 30 October, 2017

Victorians living in regional areas who have lost their hair through cancer treatment can now access Cancer Council Victoria's free Regional Wig Service.

Rather than needing to travel to Melbourne to have a wig fitted, people affected by cancer can call Cancer Council 13 11 20, complete a form to select their style and colour and an appropriate wig will be sent out within ten days at no cost. Patients going through cancer treatment can also request a beanie, headscarf or sleep cap.

Katherine Lane, Nurse Manager of Cancer Council 13 11 20, said the organisation identified last year that patients living in regional areas of Victoria had limited access to a free or low cost service in their area.

"We know that approximately 50% of callers to Cancer Council 13 11 20 who are interested in a wig service or information on local wig services are living in regional Victoria," Ms Lane said.

"Patients were telling us they found it difficult to be able to attend appointments in Melbourne due to the cost of travel, the distance in travel and often feeling too unwell.

"Cancer Council Victoria's Regional Wig Service has been designed to complement our existing service in Melbourne, as well as local community services to provide an easily accessible service."

Patients living more than 50km from Melbourne, without a local wig service close to home, are eligible to receive a wig via the regional service.

Since 2012, Cancer Council Victoria has provided around 1,000 patients with a free wig, including 32 wigs through the new regional service.

"I am so grateful for this service, so easy to organise and the wig was a perfect match to my old hairstyle. I was able to go out to lunch with friends wearing my new wig and I felt so normal. This service is so helpful to anyone like me living far from the city and unable to afford the cost of a wig."  Val, Benalla VIC 

Ms Lane said wigs can often leave patients out of pocket, at an already expensive time in their lives.

"Our Wig Service is designed for patients who would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of a wig, which often leave patients out of pocket $300 - $500."

Around 100 synthetic wigs are available from Cancer Council Victoria, in a wide range of colours and styles.

For more information about the Cancer Council Victoria Wig Service, please call Cancer Information and Support on 13 11 20 to speak with a friendly cancer nurse.