It's heartbreaking enough for any woman to be diagnosed with cancer. But when treatment calls for chemotherapy, a whole list of side issues are raised; in addition to the debilitating physical effects of chemotherapy treatments, there is also a significant cosmetic complication: hair loss.
For some women, thoughts of losing their hair can be as devastating as the cancer itself. They're scared of the cancer, to begin with; the thought of hair loss, particularly the attention that it draws, is another seemingly impossible obstacle to deal with.
The problem most women have is that they don't know who to turn to for assistance even though they're aware of their alternatives and caregivers in the medical profession generally aren't equipped to supply such information. So who is?
Hair replacement studios and salons have traditionally specialized in replacing the hair of women who have lost it for reasons other than chemotherapy or other medical treatments. Studies indicate that approximately 10
percent of premenopausal women show evidence of genetic hair loss. These would seem to be logical venues for women to receive help.
That was the thinking when several hair replacement studios and salons banded together to form Recover with Confidence, a program aimed at bringing hair loss alternative information and support to chemotherapy patients.
"Since hair replacement studios have served chemotherapy patients through the years, we know the ins and outs of their needs," says Debbie Mancuso of Hair Enhancements of Pittsburgh. "It only makes sense for us to educate the educators, in this case the health care providers, in what are the best choices for these women. So we hold seminars with nurses, oncologists, cancer hospital personnel, social workers -- anyone involved -- to do this and hopefully to extend their capability in nursing these women back to health, not just in the physical sense but in the psychological sense, as well."
The Recover with Confidence movement is growing throughout the country in cities large and small. If it's not in your locality right now, it will be soon.