Pressure to consider a wig

My hair is falling out, and I’m feeling a general expectation that I will wear a wig. Even looking around the chemo ward, all women seem to have hair, and for some, they must surely have lost their own. I know I shouldn’t compare, and everyone is different, but this general expectation is making me doubt my choice. 

Summer is coming, and I hope judicious use of scarves and sun hats will be enough. I was looking forward to experimenting and having fun with hats, but now I wonder if I am missing something.

Is there anyone out there with positive experiences of not wearing a wig, or also with any warnings about what I might have missed?


Hi silverbirch

I did buy a wig and I wore it maybe 5 times during my whole treatment. You need to wear a skull cap or it itches like hell. That makes it too clammy in the summer. It was good quality and matched my hair colour and quality well but it felt like an encumbrance for me.

For most women, hair loss is the first thing they think of when they get their treatment plan and they find it soul destroying but, for some like me, it’s no big deal. I admit to feeling distraught when my eyelashes disappeared - so it’s not a vanity thing; it’s a preference. As soon as my hair started sliding out about 3 weeks after my first chemo, I got a no 6 buzz cut. I loved it and it required minimum maintenance so hair loss was slowed down and, by the end of chemo, I still had some left - sparse but mine.

There are practical issues though. Hats sound great but it’s amazing how hard it is to keep a woman’s hat on when you’ve no hair. it’s like you’ve lost an inch in head size! Plus there’s nothing to anchor it so you are constantly poised with one hand on your hat. And, much as I hate to say it, a bald head screams out chemotherapy so you do get treated as a cancer victim by many well-meaning people. It can be distressing. Baldness, unless it’s a conscious fashion statement, seems to unsettle people. I was surprised to find this included many medical staff whose overall experience is that hair loss is anathema to most women. I don’t think it would be if it were more socially acceptable. 

In the end, you have to do what’s right for you. I remember seeing a stunning woman in the hospital pharmacy, tall, statuesque and bald as a coot. But with her head held high, her fantastic dress sense and the ubiquitous draped scarf ready for any emergency, she looked amazing and that inspired me, at least 6 inches shorter and 30 years older, to try to carry that off. It can be done! Having said that, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go with a friend to the hospital wig service. The session is great fun and it’s amazing how different styles can look, even different colours. You are not obliged to buy one but it may sway you one way or the other.

Wishing you all the best. Part of me is longing to say Go Girl!


Hi there silver birch….don’t feel you have to wear a wig….I got one because all chemo patients got a voucher for one at my hospital……after getting it home, I never wore it…not once….it just didn’t look or feel like me……i lost all my hair at day 16 post first chemo ….after that, I just wore turban style hats that I got from Etsy if I was out….and wore nothing at home……in fact my 3 grandaughters now play dress up with my wig! definately do whatever you feel comfortable with….I had chemo in lock down so no cold capping allowed so didn’t really see any ladies with BC keeping their hair….there was a combination of wigs and hats and bald heads on my unit….choose what’s right for you….I wish you well