UW Health Reopens Wig Salon for Cancer Patients

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Emily Kumlien
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Madison, Wisconsin - This week UW Health reopened the wig salon located within the UW Carbone Cancer Center, welcoming back patients for appointments starting Wednesday, July 22. The salon has been closed since mid-March as a COVID-19 safety precaution.


All guests and the stylist will be wearing masks per UW Health protocols, and there will be thorough disinfecting procedures in place.


“I’m excited to start seeing patients for wig styling appointments again,” said stylist Stephanie Schutz. “I know how much this means to my clients and I love working with them.”


Cancer patients treated with chemotherapy often experience hair loss as the therapy attacks cancerous cells as well as other rapidly growing cells in the body, like those in one’s hair roots. Hair loss can be an upsetting or even traumatic experience for patients for several reasons. Losing one’s hair rapidly can be alarming, a person’s hair is often connected to their sense of self, body image and self-esteem. Hair loss is also often unavoidably public, making a cancer diagnosis very visible for those who may wish to remain private about a diagnosis or not want to discuss their health with others.


“Even though patients with cancer might know hair loss is coming, it is quite shocking when it actually happens,” said Lori DuBenske, PhD, cancer psychologist. “It can actually trigger grief reactions for some.”


The wig salon in the UW Carbone Cancer Center offers high-quality wigs and head covers at no charge for patients who are receiving treatment at UW Hospital and experiencing hair loss due to treatment for cancer or other illnesses. Volunteers are trained to assist with choice, fitting and care.


A licensed cosmetologist cuts and shapes wigs free of charge for patients using the program. It is funded by Friends of UW Health and donations.


“The wig salon is an essential service to many of our patients who find changes in their physical appearance to be an additional layer of suffering as part of their cancer experience,” said DuBenske. “The wig salon can reduce this suffering, validating the importance of self-image.”



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Date Published: 07/24/2020

News tag(s):  coronavirusdaily update

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