Living With Cancer: Coping With Hair Loss & the Anxiety it Brings – SurvivorNet


For many people going through cancer treatment, changes to the physical appearance — like hair loss associated with chemotherapy — are a huge emotional burden. It can be difficult to adjust when you’re struggling to feel like yourself because you don’t look like yourself.
“For cancer patients losing one’s hair can be unbelievably stressful. To start with, the dread of losing one’s hair can lead to some sleepless nights and feelings of anxiety,” Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, told SurvivorNet. To cope, Dr. Boardman suggested reaching out to other survivors who have been through a similar situation — if you feel comfortable doing so.
For those who can’t stand the idea of being seen without their hair, there are plenty of options available, such as wigs, head wraps, and hats. Some survivors have even created products specifically for people with cancer so they can feel comfortable in their own skin.
Dr. Boardman also noted that some people may not feel comfortable talking about hair loss, and that’s OK, too.
“To encourage them to bring that up, to encourage them to talk about it, I think can be very helpful,” she said. “But also, for patients it might be something that they don’t talk about. [And they should] feel good and strong about saying, ‘This is something that I don’t feel like discussing right now, and I’ll let you know when I do.’”

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Dr. Samantha Boardman is a New York-based psychiatrist and author. Read More

Dealing With Anxiety After Hair Loss

  • Many people going through cancer treatment feel a sense of dread associated with the thought of losing their hair.
  • Such a drastic physical change may lead to anxiety and sleepless nights.
  • Patients can speak to their caregivers to see if any interventions are possible, and should also look into products that are specifically made for people dealing with temporary hair loss.
  • Talking about these anxieties can help, but it’s also OK to say so if you are not comfortable discussing it, Psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman says.

For many people going through cancer treatment, changes to the physical appearance — like hair loss associated with chemotherapy — are a huge emotional burden. It can be difficult to adjust when you’re struggling to feel like yourself because you don’t look like yourself.
“For cancer patients losing one’s hair can be unbelievably stressful. To start with, the dread of losing one’s hair can lead to some sleepless nights and feelings of anxiety,” Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, told SurvivorNet. To cope, Dr. Boardman suggested reaching out to other survivors who have been through a similar situation — if you feel comfortable doing so.
For those who can’t stand the idea of being seen without their hair, there are plenty of options available, such as wigs, head wraps, and hats. Some survivors have even created products specifically for people with cancer so they can feel comfortable in their own skin.
Dr. Boardman also noted that some people may not feel comfortable talking about hair loss, and that’s OK, too.
“To encourage them to bring that up, to encourage them to talk about it, I think can be very helpful,” she said. “But also, for patients it might be something that they don’t talk about. [And they should] feel good and strong about saying, ‘This is something that I don’t feel like discussing right now, and I’ll let you know when I do.’”
Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.
Dr. Samantha Boardman is a New York-based psychiatrist and author. Read More
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