Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out that my treatment would include 16 rounds of chemotherapy. I was scared and also devastated that I would lose my hair. In some ways, it seems vain to care about your hair when cancer is life or death but for me and for many women our hair is part of our identity. In fact, there have been studies where women who had chemotherapy as part of their treatment often described hair loss as even more traumatic than losing their breast(s). Another study showed that 8% of female patients actually decline chemo due to fear of hair loss.
After doing some research, I learned that there are options that may save your hair during chemotherapy but they are expensive, not covered by insurance, a ton of work and also, depending on the chemotherapy, not guaranteed to be effective. I desperately wanted to try Penguin Cold Caps to save my hair but was worried about the time and expense for something that may or may not work. (At the time there were no FDA approved options for saving hair but Dignicap and Paxmann are now FDA approved ) My chemotherapy protocol was AC-T which is chemo combination therapy that is known to cause extensive hair loss. In fact, people call AC the red devil. My oncologist and breast surgeon were both very skeptical that I would be able to keep my hair even using the cold caps.
This website is my job and the advertising, sponsored content and affiliate links within it help support our family. I was not sure how much work I was going to be able to complete during chemotherapy and knew my income would take a huge hit. Also, even with good insurance, cancer treatment is expensive. Have you ever looked at what your out of pocket maximum is on your insurance? Ours was $7500 and we hit that in just a few months of cancer treatment. I wasn’t sure we could afford the expense of cold caps.
I was extremely lucky to receive a subsidy from HairtoStay.org that helped me pay for the cold caps. In addition, I was able to find a local oncologist office that had received a freezer for the caps from the Rapunzel Project. I was also lucky to have the support of my mom, dad, and husband who helped me with the caps. They needed to be changed every half hour and worn before and after chemo therapy. To say these were long days would be an understatement. I did lose some of my hair (maybe 15-20%) but to the casual observer, you could not tell. I was able to go to about my everyday life without people knowing I was a cancer patient and that had a huge impact on my attitude. This privacy made a tough time in my life much easier. I can not thank HairtoStay.org enough for their support and wanted to let you know of a way you can help others with cancer save their hair.
Scalp cooling treatments minimize chemotherapy-induced hair loss by keeping the scalp very cold just before, during and for a period after chemotherapy infusions. Most insurance companies do not currently cover the cost of scalp cooling. This October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HairToStay, the only national non-profit dedicated to helping financially challenged cancer patients save their hair by making scalp cooling affordable, is partnering with salons across the country in an effort to raise $1 million.
What is the HairToStay Salon-a-Thon
The Salon-a-Thon is open to hair and beauty salons anywhere in the U.S. It’s a wonderful way for a hair salon to help thousands of patients avoid one of the most devastating side effects of chemotherapy eliminating the heartbreak of chemo cuts.
- An innovative fundraising campaign that’s truly a cut above the rest – designed specifically for hair salons and the hair care industry.
- Staged in salons across the country throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- Publicized through aggressive PR, social media and ad campaigns.
- An opportunity to build your brand among your customers and community by supporting a great cause that is perfectly aligned with your business.
Every $1,000 raised will change the life of a cancer patient.
Are you a hairdresser or salon owner? Please see the website about how you can get involved. HairtoStay will help you make the fundraiser successful! The Salon-a-Thon Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to organizing, promoting and executing a Salon-a-Thon based on input from salon managers and stylist who have had first-hand experience staging the event. Once you sign up, you will be contacted by a HTS representative and they will support you.
If you are not a hair dresses or salon owner, why not forward this article on to your hairdresser or hair salon and let them know how they can get involved. This is a great way to make a difference in a cancer patient’s life. Many Breast Cancer Awareness funds do not go to patents or even research. This fundraiser is an easy way to make a cancer patient’s life better.
October will be here soon so please either sign up (if you are a hairdresser or salon owner) or forward the information to your hair salon. Thank you so much for your support! It really does make a huge impact on a cancer patient’s life.
Subscribe to the News
Like what you see here? Get free printables and tips! Be sure to sign up to get the latest right in your inbox.
Bethany from CuteCapsuleLife says
I’m so glad you shared this personal story. With all the pain that cancer brings to keep your hair gives at least a little relief not to mention privacy. This is a cause I believe in.