Cancer treatment and hair loss
Any treatment which acts on rapidly dividing cancer cells can also affect other rapidly dividing cells such as hair follicles, which can cause hair loss. However not all cancer treatment causes hair loss.
Some people who experience cancer-related hair loss choose to wear a wig, hat, scarf, turban or beanie. These services can provide access to these items.
If you do have hair loss, you may experience a range of different emotions including anger, anxiety and acceptance. Some people may feel self-conscious about their appearance and other people find that it is not as bad as they expected. Experiencing a variety of feelings and reactions is very common.
Ask your treatment team
It is a good idea to talk to your doctors and nurses before treatment starts about whether you are likely to lose your hair, and if so, the level of hair loss to be expected. Your team will be able to help you manage your hair loss and can refer you to services that can help, including wig services.
Questions to ask about this service
When looking at a service it is important to ask questions about how the service works before you decide to engage with them. Below is a list of questions you might like to ask when enquiring about a service.
Am I eligible?
Some services have specific criteria that a person must meet before they are able to use a service, for example location, means testing or a specific cancer type. It is important to know if you are eligible to access a service right from the start.
Do I need a referral?
Some services require a referral from your specialist, GP or a social worker. This helps to make sure that the right patients are being connected with the right services. It’s a good idea to ask if a referral is needed and if so, exactly what type of referral the service requires.
How much will this cost me?
Some services are free, and some come at a cost. At a time when people should be focused on their treatment and recovery, the cost of cancer can be a source of stress and worry for many. It’s a good idea to ask about the fees attached to a service and if there are any subsidies or benefits you might be eligible for before committing to the service. It’s important to know that you are within your rights to ask about the cost of a service or treatment before agreeing to take part. For more information you can visit cancer and your finances.
Is there a wait time?
Sometimes demand for a service is high which can cause wait times. You might find it helpful to ask if there are any wait times for the services you are looking at, especially if you require support as soon as possible.
What services do you offer?
Some organisations provide a range of services for people affected by cancer, their family, friends and carers. It is a good idea to ask about exactly what services are available to you.
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