How Donating Your Hair Will Help Cancer Patients
Hair is an important part of everyone’s looks. It is normal for people to feel upset about losing their hair. Hair is precious and even more so to someone who loses it suddenly due to medical reasons.
For cancer patients, hair loss is the upsetting side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and often results in anxiety, depression, a negative body image, and lowered self-esteem.1, 2
Hair loss, or alopecia, might make one feel vulnerable, self-conscious, and exposed as a “cancer patient.”1
Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is a clinically less harmful side effect.
- However, is considered to be one of the most traumatic, psychologically distressing aspects of cancer patient care.2
As a result, a person often struggles to accept the way they look during or after treatment and even during the recovery process.
In such a situation, a hair wig can tremendously help the cancer patient to restore his/her look.
- Why donate your hair to cancer patients?
Cancer treatments (chemotherapy, targeted, or radiation therapy)target cancer cells that divide rapidly. However, alopecia may occur, when such cancer treatments damage the healthy, fast-growing cells responsible for hair growth.3
Every cancer patient experiences hair loss differently. Hair usually begins falling out two to four weeks after the beginning of treatment. One might lose all of their hair or just some of it. It could start slowly over time or thin out. In most cases, hair will begin to grow back several months after the treatment has finished.3, 4
- Hair donation
Donating hair for cancer patients is both easy and rewarding. It is a great way to support people with cancer who have lost theirs. Hair donation for cancer sufferers is simple and satisfying. It is a great way to help cancer patients who have lost their own. The hair that takes so long to grow can be made into a beautiful wig for someone who needs it to maintain a positive body image after his/her hair is shed due to chemotherapy.1
A wig can help enhance their self-esteem, strength, and will to live by 5, 6
- Make them feel better psychologically
- Accept the changes in their body
- Even make them start loving their body
Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, hospitals, and even salons are functioning for this noble cause of receiving hair donations from people who are used to making wigs for cancer patients.
- Procedure for hair donation:5
- Choose where to send your hair
Each hair donation organization has a unique aim and set of objectives. Do a little research and ensure who receives the wigs and how. Additional facts are frequently available on an organization’s website, and they might aid in guiding the selection.
Here are some queries you could have regarding the contribution procedure for each organization: 5, 7
- What’s the age range of recipients?
- What are the medical requirements for receiving a wig?
- Are the wigs free to recipients?
- How are the wigs made for each recipient?
- How long does the hair need to be?
If you want your hair to be utilized, it’s crucial to adhere to the organization’s donation guidelines. The minimal amount of hair that may be donated for each of them is often between 8 and 14 inches. The smallest layer of layered hair frequently has to fulfill the minimum length requirement.5, 7
- Are there any types of hair one cannot donate?
Children and adults alike can donate hair. It may be necessary to confirm whether or not an organization accepts hair that has been dyed, permed, highlighted, bleached, or dreadlocked. Additionally, although some organizations do allow gray hair or hair with a specific amount of gray in it, others do not.5, 7
- Be sure to adhere to the donation guidelines with your hairdresser.
A hairdresser doesn’t need specific training to perform a contribution cut, but make sure to explain to them why you’re getting one and the requirements of the organization you’ve chosen. They will just need to follow a few simple but specific instructions so that your hair can be used.5, 7
- Wash and dry your hair before going to the salon: Use no hair products, such as mousse, gel, or hairspray, after washing your hair. Donated hair must be dried before it is transported to avoid mold growth and render it useless.
- Prepare your materials: Bring a ruler, ponytail holders, the company’s haircutting standards, and a resealable bag.
- Plan out your hairstyle: Getting your hair cut for a good cause might make you feel amazing, but you also need to decide what type of style you want when you leave the salon. This will help you not regret giving your hair to charity.5, 7
Use the ruler to check that the donated hair fits the minimum length criteria after you and your stylist have discussed the length you’d like your cut to be. For a precise measurement, curly hair should be pulled straight. Packaging and shipping instructions are typically as simple as mailing an ordinary envelope with a donation form and a bag of your hair in it.5, 7
Lastly, by donating the hair, one might make those battling cancer or other illnesses feel more resilient and better able to concentrate on their health. Get in touch with an organization that specializes in this cause if you want your donated hair to be made into a high-quality wig for those who are experiencing hair loss.
- Cope with Cancer, Available at: https://www.copewithcancer.org/hair-donation, last accessed on 2nd February 2023
- Wils R, Jacob AR, Daniel ES, Chacko RT, Reka S. Distress and coping in cancer patients experiencing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Indian J ContNsgEdn 2019;20:60-4
- Chemotherapy and hair loss: What to expect during treatment, Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/in-depth/hair-loss/art-20046920, last accessed on 2nd February 2023
- coping-with-cancer, Available at: https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/physical-emotional-and-social-effects-cancer/managing-physical-side-effects/hair-loss-or-alopecia, last accessed on 2nd February 2023
- How to Donate Your Hair to Help People With CancerAvailable at: https://www.cancer.net/blog/2018-04/how-donate-your-hair-help-people-with-cancer, last accessed on 2nd February 2023
- Donating Hair for People With Cancer and More, Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/donating-hair-for-people-with-cancer-2248940, last accessed on 2nd February 2023
- How to Donate Your Hair in India: 6 Simple Steps, Available at: https://www.thebetterindia.com/205876/how-to-donate-hair-in-india-wig-shaving-long-frizzy-steps-cancer/, last accessed on 2nd February 2023