What Should I Wear On My Head for Hair Loss During Breast Cancer Treatments?
When those first hairs fall after beginning chemo, you agonize over dealing with your balding head. Or maybe you haven’t even started chemotherapy and already dread losing your hair.
Choosing the best way to cover your bald head during breast cancer treatments can be challenging. You want to look normal, feel pretty, and be comfortable but aren’t sure how to accomplish this. Here are some of the best head coverings for chemo hair loss for breast cancer patients.
Tips for Choosing a Wig for Chemo Hair Loss
A wig can make you feel “normal” when you’re out and about. It can reduce your self-consciousness by allowing you to hide what you’re going through from those you don’t want to share your experience with.
When I discovered I would receive chemo, I bought a human hair wig from a salon. It was dyed and trimmed to match my hair color and hairstyle. I was pleased with the way it looked. It turned out beautiful and looked very natural.
But it also cost $900! And the one I chose was less expensive than many others at the salon.
Thankfully, my insurance paid for most of it.
And I did wear it several times. However, even though it looked natural, it didn’t feel natural. It was uncomfortable, and I never quite got used to it.
So, while I wore it when I wanted to look especially nice, I didn’t wear it as often as I thought I would. And, if I had to pay the total price of the wig, it wouldn’t have been worth the cost to me.
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Less Expensive Alternatives to Pricey Salon Wigs
Instead of paying the high cost of a human hair wig, I’d suggest considering a synthetic one, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover wigs. I’ve had friends purchase synthetic hair wigs online that not only looked great on them but cost less than $100.
And though It can be tricky finding the right wig for you when shopping online, the cost difference makes it worth the effort.
There are also organizations that assist you in obtaining a free wig. Ask your treatment center about local sources that have free wigs. Dealing with cancer is expensive, so any way you can save money during this time, go for it!
Your Insurance Company May Pay for Your Wig
Many insurance companies cover 80-100% of the costs of wigs needed for medical hair loss. Here are some steps on how to receive coverage for your wig.
First, check with your insurance company and see if your policy includes coverage for a cranial prosthesis. When speaking with your insurance representative, use the term cranial prosthesis (your insurance provider may use their own specific medical terminology). If you use the word wig, your insurance company will view it as a fashion accessory, not a medically needed item, and reject it.
If your insurance does cover a cranial prosthesis, then you will also need to ask your insurance representative these questions:
- How much of the cost is covered by your insurance policy?
- What type of cranial prosthesis is covered? (Ex: human hair wig, synthetic wig, etc.)
- What specific medical terminology do you need to use?
- What documentation do you need to submit with your claim?
Once you obtain the answers to the above questions, contact your oncologist and request a prescription for a cranial prosthesis. Provide your oncologist with your insurance company’s required terminology and the documentation and medical code (usually A9282) needed for the prescription.
After receiving your prescription, you’ll purchase the wig and then send the required documentation to your insurance company for reimbursement. Make sure to keep the receipt to submit with your prescription and any other required forms to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Comfortable, Stylish Alternatives to Wearing Wigs
The downside of wigs is that they can be uncomfortable. After wearing mine for a few hours, I couldn’t wait to take it off, especially since the skin on my head was sensitive.
Wigs can also be hot to wear, especially in the summer.
For these reasons, you may want to have some other alternatives available.
My absolute favorite option was the “Cap with Hair.” I purchased it towards the end of my treatments, and it became my go-to head covering to wear when going out. It’s a baseball cap with hair attached at the bottom edge. It was super comfortable, and no one knew I didn’t have a head full of hair.
Plus, the cap with hair protected my scalp from the sun. And at around $25, it was very affordable.
If baseball caps aren’t your style, other options include slouchy beanie caps with attached hair and headbands with hair.
The Best Caps, Hats, Beanies, and Scarves for Hair Loss During Breast Cancer Treatments
There are a variety of cute styles of hats and scarves to choose from at economical prices. I purchased several in a variety of colors.
The picture above is of my absolute favorite beanie hat to wear. It’s super soft, comfortable and feels natural to wear. It’s light and protects your head from the sun. This beanie comes in a variety of colors to match your wardrobe.
Because my chemo was during the winter, I often wore a knitted or crocheted cap or beanie when I wasn’t wearing a wig. And, sometimes, I wore it over my wig for a different look.
Your infusion center may already have handmade beanies available for you. Volunteers crochet or knit them and donate them to the infusions centers. I also found several super soft ones in department stores during the fall and winter seasons. Right after Christmas is an ideal time to stock up on these, as many are on clearance at that time of year.
When choosing crocheted or knitted caps, look for ones that don’t have many “holes” in them. The closer the weave, the warmer your cap will be, and you won’t see your scalp beneath it.
Because I wanted my cap to have a specific look, I crocheted several myself using my design. You can find my pattern at Free Simple Crochet Cap Pattern.
Finally, my best advice is to wear what feels comfortable and makes you feel good about yourself. Choose styles that fit your personality and your budget.
So what’s your favorite head coverings to wear for Chemo Hair Loss? Please share your ideas in the comments below.