Our hair is our crowning glory. This is the reason why we make an effort to style and care day in and day out. We go to the salon to have it styled and pampered, use hair care products to keep it clean, and wear different accessories to emphasize it. And so it goes without saying that hair loss can be traumatic, especially for a cancer patient who has to undergo or is undergoing chemotherapy.
One of the most commonly known side effects of chemotherapy is alopecia, or what we call hair loss. When a cancer patient undergoes chemotherapy, his or her body hair cells loose the ability to regenerate, hence the hair loss. The cancer patient does not only lose hair on the head, but also on other parts of the body. Hair loss can be total or partial, meaning the cancer patient only loses hair in patches. Because of this, some cancer patients, mostly girls and women, refuse to undergo therapy for fear of going bald.
Family, friends and, relatives of cancer patients can help in making chemotherapy-induced hair loss less traumatic for the patient. There are many approaches that can be taken to make sure that cancer patient's fear of hair loss does not get in the way of cancer treatment. Below are some tips to make hair loss more acceptable to cancer patients.
- Go shopping for wigs. One of the reasons why cancer patients fear hair loss is because of social stigma. Hair loss is a telltale sign of cancer and going bald or wearing a turban all the time makes them feel different from their classmates, office mates, or even family members. For female cancer patients, wearing a wig is perhaps the best solution to hair loss.
When buying a wig, make sure that it matches the color of the cancer patient's original hair, or any hair color that the patient likes. There's a wide selection of wigs out there and it could really be fun shopping for one. You can choose a wig made of real hair or artificial hair. Take this opportunity to explore different hairstyles that might suit you.
- Make a fashion statement by going bald. This option is more acceptable to male cancer patients than female ones. You can try cutting your hair shorter and shorter before you go for a total shave to give yourself some time to get used to the idea of going totally hairless. Or, you can choose to make a dramatic fashion statement and go bald instantly.
Should you decide to go bald, make sure that you buy hats or caps to protect your scalp from heat of the sun and other elements. This is important because you're more susceptible to sunburn and other diseases now that your body's immune system is weak because of the chemotherapy.
In sum, hair loss will be so much easier to deal with if cancer patients understand the reasons why it has to happen and if their family and friends will help them cope with it. It is important to emphasize that hair loss is only temporary and that they can grow their hair back as soon as soon as the chemotherapy treatments stop.