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Free Wigs for Cancer Patients

5 Places to Get a Free Wig During Cancer Treatment

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Updated July 31, 2009

Chemotherapy fights cancer but it also causes hair loss. Radiation therapy to your head can also cause hair loss. And that leads us to the need for a popular head covering -- a wig! A wig can cost from $40 to thousands of dollars. But when your budget is already strained by the cost of surgery and other treatments, even a $40 wig on sale may seem out of reach. Fortunately, there are ways to find free wigs. Here are five places to look for a free wig during cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society
1-800-227-2345

The American Cancer Society accepts donations of wigs, which they collect in wig banks at their local chapters. These wigs have been cleaned and kept ready for use. If you have no health insurance and are in need of help, contact your local American Cancer Society office and ask about patient services. Some of the wigs are distributed through ACS and some are given out at local Look Good Feel Better meetings, along with cosmetics and head coverings.

CancerCare
1-800-813-HOPE (4673)

As part of their Women's Cancer Program, CancerCare offers financial assistance and counseling, support groups, and patient education. They also provide free wigs and breast prostheses to women who have lost their hair or a breast as a result of their cancer treatment.

Breast Cancer Network of Strength
1-800-221-2141

When the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization changed its name to Breast Cancer Network of Strength, it didn't change its mission. BCNS provides wigs, prostheses and mastectomy bras to women whose budget just won't stretch to cover the cost of those items. Contact them to find out where the closest affiliate office is located that has a Wig & Prosthesis Bank. BCNS offices often have salons where women can try on items before taking them home.

Crickett's Answer for Cancer
1-301-935-4411

This nonprofit organization provides free wigs, mastectomy products, mastectomy and lymphedema massage, facials, and other pampering services, as a way to keep a woman feeling feminine and beautiful despite losing her hair and/or breasts. Crickett's was founded in honor of Crickett Julius, who passed away in October of 2006, only four months after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 39. Crickett's is based in south central Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas. Carole Trone, a co-founder of Crickett's says, "We provide assistance to women all across the U.S. We mail or email an enrollment packet, and then either order wigs online or arrange for other products or services with vendors in the client's local area."

Canadian Cancer Society
1-416-961-7223

In Canada, Pantene Beautiful Lengths and the Canadian Cancer Society have joined forces to encourage women to donate their hair for wigs that will be made and distributed to women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Pantene provides the hair requirements, a donation kit, and advice about how to hold a hair cutting event. Six ponytails are required to create one wig, which will be given away through the Canadian Cancer Society.

Pay It Forward

When your hair has grown back and you feel ready to show off your chemo curls, donate your wig to a cancer support organization, so someone else can enjoy it. If you have trouble finding a place that will take donated wigs, contact your local hospital and ask if they have a cancer clinic - they may be looking for donations of cancer care items. You may also donate money to registered charities that supply wigs to women who are in treatment for breast cancer but cannot afford the price of a wig. Having a flattering wig can help a woman feel that she looks attractive -- this can lift her spirits greatly during a time when she is fighting cancer. After a wig has served you well, consider giving it a new life with another survivor.

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