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Breast Cancer | Hair Loss

Emotional Health Videos

Breast cancer and hair loss

I started the chemotherapy on a Monday with a view that probably within a few weeks I'd probably start to lose my hair.

I started on Monday and by the Thursday I was completely bald.

Well, it wasn't completely bald. It was big, bald patches. And it was my choice; I said to my husband, "Just shave it off. Just shave it off."

Because, to me, mentally (and I can only speak for myself, personally, as well), I was able to cope with it completely bald and then: "This is me. I've just got to deal with that."

I've experienced over the years that the loss of body hair is a really big one, and usually much more significant than loss of a breast, actually.

Not always. For some people the loss of a breast is the really big thing for them. It seems a kind of loss, too, when the eyebrows and eyelashes go, and, of course, the pubic hair may go, too.

So, to be kind of stripped naked, you know, in these kind of circumstances, is such a difficult thing for women to experience. And not looking like themselves, not feeling like themselves.

So, that's a difficult time for people to adjust to. And it takes time, actually. As much as anything, these things take time, and people find a way.

Humour is a good way, you know, that people also find to help themselves, I think.

I had this wig on and I'd forgotten I had the wig on and why it was so itchy, and I lifted up and I started scratching. My own 10-year-old son at the time was just so embarrassed. But we then started to make light of it, you know. It was like: "Mum! Mum!"

Helping people towards finding the right kind of wigs for them, if they're going to use wigs, or if they're going to use scarves, or hats, or the ways that they want to go about it can be an important thing to do.

And to find help with makeup so that they can still do themselves up and actually look as if they've got eyebrows can make a great difference to people.

I do encourage people to dress in their best clothes, as well, you know, as far as wearing what; you know, to make themselves feel as good as they can.


10607 Revised November 2012

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