Wig service helps cancer patients cope with hair loss

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Heather Pym’s life took an unexpected turn last year when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Ms Pym received the startling news in October and within days she had undergone a procedure to have the cancer removed.

Six months of chemotherapy at Epworth Freemasons ensued, but last week marked the end of the roller coaster ride when doctors gave her the all clear.

“I found the whole experience amazing,” she said. “Everyone was very professional and the treatment very personalised.

“The one hour appointments took me from feeling bereft to laughing.”

Ms Pym had something up her sleeve to help her cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.

The retired pharmacist was one of the first patients to take advantage of Epworth Freemasons’ new wig salon.

Ms Pym was referred by the oncology unit staff and she was able to choose a wig before beginning her treatment.

“I had chosen a wig and it sat in a show bag full of goodies in the corner at home,” she said.

“I didn’t even look at it until my hair started to fall. But I was well prepared for it and my daughter, Kate, helped to shave my head on the back step of the house.

“Since then I’ve used the wig when I wanted to blend in to a crowd and the birds have used my old hair to line their nests.”

The salon offers personal support for women and men who are undergoing chemotherapy to reduce the anxiety brought on by hair loss.

Epworth Freemasons Executive Director David Nowell said the service aimed at enhancing the level of care the hospital provided to patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“It is so important that, as a not for profit healthcare organisation, we involve ourselves in broader supportive elements of cancer care to the benefit of our patients and their families”.

The wig salon was officially launched at Epworth Freemasons on Wednesday (20 April).

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