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FAQ: Wigs, Hats & Prostheses

Is anyone available at the Cancer Center to help me with items such as wigs, hats, prostheses, etc?
Yes. The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara offers a Wig & Hat Boutique at 540 West Pueblo Street. Consultations are available, by appointment only, with Beth Higgins, Beauty Consultant, by calling (888) 848-7965, or Monday through Friday with a Patient Care Coordinator by calling 682-7300. We offer free wigs, hats, scarves, wig styling and beauty consultation.Beth Higgins can also assist with breast prostheses and bras from the same location, by appointment only.
Will my cancer treatments cause me to lose my hair?
It depends on what type of treatment you are having, and the location of treatment.
Radiation has almost all of both its good and bad effects isolated to the area to which it is given. If your head is not being irradiated, you will not lose your hair. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause hair loss. Whether or not you will lose your hair depends on the type and dose of your chemotherapy. Most hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment is temporary, though. Your nurse or doctor can give you an idea of what side effects, including hair loss, you may expect from your specific chemotherapy drug and dose.

The Cancer Center offers a Wig & Hat Boutique at 540 West Pueblo Street. Consultations are available by appointment with Beth Higgins, Beauty Consultant, by calling (888) 848-7965, or Monday through Friday with a Patient Care Coordinator by calling 682-7300. We offer free wigs, hats, scarves, wig styling, and beauty consultation.Beth Higgins can also assist with breast prostheses and bras from the same location, by appointment only.
If I lose my hair, what kind of hair piece should I get?
There are different types of hair pieces. You should consult with a specialist and choose the one that best fits your life style.
Human Hair: Human hair pieces are made of human hair and require the same maintenance as growing hair.
Synthetic Hair: Synthetic hair is made of polyester fiber and has the same qualities as those of a piece of clothing. A wig made of polyester fibers does not require setting every time it is washed.
What size should I get?
Full hair pieces (wigs) are made on stretchable mesh caps which usually have a velcro strap attached for easy adjustment. One size, therefore, usually fits all.
How do I clean a wig?
Most hair pieces should be washed in Woolite, or a similar gentle fabric detergent. They should be swished gently in soapy water, rinsed thoroughly, and hung to drip dry. This would apply to synthetic wigs. Human hair wigs should be shampooed and set as normal hair, either at home or at your beauty salon.
What color or style should I choose?
Picking the color or style which is closest to your natural hair will be most pleasing and comfortable emotionally since it will not be such a drastic change.
Can I use insurance to help pay for my wig?
Be sure and ask your oncologist for a prescription to get a wig. The cost may partially be covered by most insurance companies.

If your question wasn’t answered, please call 805-682-7300.