What is going to happen to my hair? That’s one of the first questions cancer patients ask when confronted with life-saving therapies that will take a toll on their appearance. Patients fighting cancer also battle dry or burned skin and loss of hair from chemo and radiation therapy.
“Hair loss happens for most patients about two weeks after their second treatment,” said Sarah Goldbeck, co-owner of Salon Rx at The University of Kansas Hospital and a cosmetologist/certified mastectomy fitter at Missys’ Boutique at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Sarah helps patients, mostly women, cope with their hair loss by explaining step-by-step the changes to expect with their hair and scalp. She also finds and fits wigs that for patients that she can customize to frame their face. Sarah explained that some patients, when losing their hair and fighting cancer, decide to go bold and wear a whole new hair color or style while others hope to find a close match to their natural hair.
Patient Kara Breinin wanted to look like she always did. She chose a short brown wig made of synthetic materials when diagnosed with breast cancer. “My hair began thinning and then falling out in chunks,” Breinin said. “Sarah guided me toward the synthetic hair because it’s cooler than human hair and more affordable.”
Breinin’s insurance will cover some of her appearance expenses. Helping patients navigate insurance is also a part of the services found at Missys’ Boutique, an accredited cancer appearance center. In the video below, Sarah and Kara demonstrate how to fit a wig, put a wig on and take it off, as well as care for it correctly.