It is difficult to know what to do for a loved one facing cancer. There are many challenges which come up, often daily. These challenges play by no rules, they have no sympathy and there seem to be no road maps along the way. Even the treatments that are supposed to help the person, come with their own set of side-effects on the body. These add to the stress of being diagnosed with and treated for cancer.
However, some of these side-effects are quite manageable. One of these is hair loss from chemotherapy or chemo, a commonly seen and one of the most feared side-effect. The first step in tackling any problem is understanding it. So, why does chemo lead to hair loss? To know more about hair loss from chemotherapy, you can read our article on 5 Things You Should Know About Hair Loss During Chemotherapy.
The hair loss may be temporary. But knowing it doesn’t make a difference to the sense of loss of identity and self-esteem that your loved one may feel. Since you are close to them, they may have told you of their fears.Or you may have noticed it yourself, even if they don’t talk about it. And you may have wondered if there is anything you can do. There is.
Ask Questions: Your first job as a caregiver is to help support your loved one manage their treatments. Once you have been made aware of the treatment plan, ask your doctor or experts in the field of hair like Papillon Wigs and Weaves questions about the expected hair loss during chemo and how you can help them manage it. The more you know and the earlier you know it, the better the decisions you can take.
Discuss Their Options With Them: Ask them how comfortable will they feel about hair loss. Try talking to them about cutting their hair short if they have hair longer than shoulder length. It will make the process of seeing the hair fall out easier. If they are okay with baldness or losing a large amount of hair, suggest using a scarf or hat and using sunscreen to protect their sensitive scalp from the effects of the sun. If they are not, talk about exploring alternatives like using a wig. To know more about what wigs are and how can they be used, you can visit our website here or visit our store at papillonwigs.com
At this stage it is important to discuss beforehand the budget of the wig, so that you can find one within yours. In our experience we have seen how much it disheartens the patient when loved ones put financial pressure on the patient after they decide to go for a wig and feel better about taking a positive step.
Help Them Make Decisions Early: If they decide to go for a wig,especially if it is a customised one, it’s best to make the decision early. Chemotherapy causes changes in the texture of natural hair and shopping for a wig before your treatment starts will help match the wig as closely as possible to the texture, colour and style of your loved one’s natural hair.
Help Them Care for their Hair During Chemo: Once chemo starts, it is advisable not to wash hair frequently. Oiling and washing of hair should be avoided after the 12th day of the first chemo cycle as it can tangle the hair further. Before that, hair should not be washed for more than once in 5 days using a mild shampoo. It is important to not go for any chemical treatments like colouring, perming or straightening as it will damage the hair more and cause further hair loss.
As you can see, with these simple and positive steps you can help your loved one with cancer tackle the hair loss they will experience and help them cope better with their treatments.