Attracting attention


I just wondered how you felt when going through treatment (chemo) with people staring or even pulling you aside to ask you about your cancer?

I am half-way through chemo at the moment and wearing a headscalf as hair has gone and I am getting more frustrated with people staring! I think the thing that bothers me the most is when you walk past someone and you can just tell that they will wait for you to walk past then get a good look behind your back…lol.

I am the kind of person that usually is not bothered by anything, but having people pull me aside and asking me what cancer I have and then telling me that they know someone, that knows someone that had it and is fine.

Am I being over-sensitive? I just want to get on as normal without being reminded constantly with having people staring!

Paula xx

Hello Paula
Although l haven’t started chemo yet! and like you things don’t usually bother me, l just get on with my life, but since being diagnosed with breast cancer, l have people l hardly know, but know of my bc, telling me about their friend of a friend that had ‘it’ and they are still here! and there are the ones that say “what will be will be” Ok yes, but do l need to know that, No!
One the other day, who l thought was a friend, tried to edge around the subject, “well have they said a time”
One neighbour said “anything for attention” if only!! think she realised she said the wrong thing, and did say sorry, but…
I had a bright coloured dress on the other day, and a lady said,“you look so well, no one would know you are so ill” i wanted to say, “no l am not ‘ill’ l have breast cancer”!!! The best one l heard after my mx was, “well you are alright now, breast gone, and glands taken” surely you must feel better? No!
I do sometimes wonder if there is a lot of ignorance out there with regards to breast cancer, yes l have learnt a lot since joining the forum, but l hope l wasn’t as ignorant as some of the people l have met.
I saw a friend the other day that had a scarf on, and yes people were looking at her, are they ‘sad’ people, or just ignorant?
Not sure l am going to be brave enough to go out without my wig, but never say never!
And just re reading my post, I thinks l talk to too many people!!
probably should put my head down and march on! sadly l have always chatted to people, that will teach me!
Sandra xxx

I know just how you feel as I found over-sympathetic people made me feel very vulnerable and either took me down with them or made me start chanting stats of how many people are ok! I guess we are all different. Some people on here, while I was having chemo used to talk about going in pubs, down the high street with bald heads and were very proud of being able to do this. That was right for them. It was that exact attention that I didn’t want and so I had the cold cap and had 14 hats, 6 scarves and 2 wigs ready in case it didn’t work.I only ever saw one person wearing a scarf while I was on chemo and that was my friend and everyone did look. In the hot weather a wig is uncomfortable and sweaty but it does help you blend into the crowd, if you want to be anonymous and not be so easily identified as having had chemo. I wish I could offer some helpful comment but from my 7 months of chemo I found it was either hide the baldness (mine was just a bald top to my head) or put up with the general public feeling they had to share their views/experiences. Most people really do mean well but I do know what you mean!
Well done for being half way through and hope the last part flies by so those tufts start sprouting asap. I have just had my 2 year checks and all ok so far. You have to laugh when your treatment is 10 months long, so you get your one year check ony 8 weeks after you finish!Good luck to you Sandra too and hope you fare well when you do start the public poisoning.
Lily x

Hi Paula (& everyone),

Good to see your post and glad I’m not the only one feeling the same way!

I thought I’m coping etc with my dx and then yesterday, when I went to the zoo with 2 of my best friends, they brought a wheelchair with them. I asked what’s that for? They said just in case I’m tired while walking around in the zoo! I was very moved by their thoughtfulness and kindness. But sorry, NO!!! No way I’m allowing myself to be pushed around in a wheelchair!!! Just can’t imagine myself (in my 20s) in a wheelchair while being stared at by other people and wondering what on earth is wrong with me!!!

They ended up leaving the wheelchair behind in the car. We did enjoy the day out though. I did get very tired in the end and didn’t manage to see all the animals (will go again to see the bits I’ve missed), but I’m glad that I’ve made that decision because cancer doesn’t have me!!!

Take care xx

M1yu - ata girl!


I am sure a lot of people have stared at me over the last few months with headscarfs and now going without. However the thing I have had most comments on in recent weeks has been my picc line. I had planned to keep wearing sleeves but it is just too hot. I have not had any negative comments but a lot have been interested in what it is for and how it works. I am quite happy to explain as I think it helps to take away some of the fear of treatment.

i have only just shaved my head and told people generally, but have had few comments at school about my new short ( number 2!) haircut, there is no way i am going to be flaunting my bald head in night clubs though! i have bought some of those half wigs to wear under hats to go supermarket etc in, not got them yet so they still may be really crap. I am miserable cow but really hope this is a rainy cold summer as this weather is getting me down!


Totally with you on the getting annoyed with being stared at. My latest things is when you go past someone who you can tell is going to stare, is to turn round smiling ready to stare at them, they look well embarrassed.

I have taken to going out with my bald head out purely because I get so hot. I got quite wound up the other day (literally I was thinking, would it be easier if I just dressed as a man and drew on some designer stubble, would I get less attention) until the man selling the big issue said to me- ‘you’ve got a lovely smile’. After that I thought, sod everyone else. People are going to be curious but it’s their problem not mine.

I have no issue with kids staring as kids are kids, however when it’s adults, they should know better. One time I was in starbucks and a lady was staring so I asked her if she wanted to come stroke my head.

I do generally have something to put on my head in my bag as sometimes it does all get too much but the more I go bald the more used to it I get. I admire people that can stick wearing a wig, I found it very hard, worn mine about 6 times, got very stressed. Do not know how you do it, and in this heat.

Em x


Seems lots of you are having issues with bald head. Mine is going patchy at the mo despite cold cap, but not brave enough to get it shaved! Annoyed at the fact that it’s everywhere but I’m putting up with that.

My latest solution to that prob is wearing a sun hat rather than my wig. My wig looks nice on me and I like it. But just not brave enough to go out with it and agree with so many of you - it’s too hot in this weather. So, I’ve been wearing my sun hat everywhere and got a comment from one of my friends the other night “your hat makes me feel more summery!” I think that’s the best comment ever and it certainly put a smile on my face. So, I’ll stick with my sun hat.

I know lots of people hate wearing a hat and can’t put up with the hair falling out everywhere bit. But, the sun hat is the perfect solution for me and makes me blends into the background.


I found this thread interesting after the experiences of my wife Janet. She was completely un-phased by the baldness thing (though very glad the hair is coming back now), and only had a couple of fluorescent novelty wigs for fun apart from scarves and hats during the Winter, but we did enjoy looking at the reactions of people.

What we found interesting was the differences between people of different ages. As a rule we felt: children seemed curious, which is fine; people of our own age (48 and 52 at the time) or a bit younger tended to be OK and sometimes openly acknowledged or asked questions but not usually rudely; teenagers and people in their 20s didn’t even seem to notice, as though it was just a life choice; but people around 60 or more often seemed really to have a problem, either staring, or looking furtively, or tilting their heads (which really does annoy Janet). (All generalizations, of course, so please don’t be offended.)

We hope this really is a sign of changing attitudes. I think the more people are seen without hair, the less of a problem it will be, though I can understand why some people don’t want to be noticed in that way.

Paula, I had the “hair is so overrated” comment on the school run by one of the mums whilst she was tossing her blonde locks, I wear the caps and buffs and never thought it would attrack so much attention so last week I bought a wig to blend in again after saying I never would. Self confidence nil, but if most people you speak to who seem to be experts on the subject on bc seem to be believed it’s little more than a toothache and Look at Kylie and how well she is doing…

I do have a wig but find it so irritating, constantly fiddling with it.

Em you do make me laugh, that’s what I have started to do in the last couple of weeks, catch people out when they stare and they don’t know where to look.

Jansman, I agree about the ages…although I do find women my age looking alot, probably thinking that it could be them in my situation.

Oh and a classic today, went to the post office to post some parcels, the guy behind the counter who has served me loads before, said “so what’ve you done to your hair??” to which I replied “It’s come out”. He then said but it wouldn’t just happen over night, why did you cut it?". The lady sitting next to him just looked at him dumbfounded! What do you say to that??!!

Paula x

i soooooooo know what you mean!! Can get really annoying.


I have a slightly different problem. Mine’s growing back now, about an inch long, but its GREY aaahhh!!! I was blond before, albeit dyed and i cannot bear to go out uncovered. Bandanas are getting a good wearing. I August I’ll be 5 1/2 months post chemo. I know the literature says wait 6 months but I’m on leave from work then and I’m desperate to be back to blond. I’m 42 not 82!

Julia xx

julia put a semi colour on it ,i dyed mine a week after chemo dont think it really matters xxxxx

Julia I dyed mine twice in the middle of chemo as it started growing so fast when off epi but used a totally organic dye with no chemicals.
lily x

Julia, the totally natural and safe vegetable dye is called Naturtint - they do all shades. Available from Holland & Barrett or online - about a tenner with p&p. I used it initially and it was fine - left hair very soft, it did fade a little quicker than the strong dyes but as my hair was so short I didnt wash it as often and got a good 6-8 weeks out of it! Hope this helps, Debbie x