Patients treated for cancer or any other disease that causes them to lose their hair can once again purchase a wig at the HÃ´pital de la Rive-Sud gift shop.
Wig sales are a continuation of The Boutique. This store previously operated in the Columbian Street Hospital Cancer Treatment Center, which is affiliated with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center in Boston.
Gift shop manager Sue Noyes said the hospital’s McKim Lobby store reopened on June 14 and privacy was available to patients who wish to discuss their need for a wig with an employee.
âIt’s very convenient,â she says. “People can drive up to the main entrance and enter the gift shop. We have a relatively large area which is quiet.”
Noyes said people don’t have to be patient to buy a wig.
âWe can help sick people and people in the community who have different types of hair loss,â she said. “We can help people who want a wig for whatever reason.”
The boutique’s wig services are managed by Rita Bower, a licensed cosmetologist with South Shore Health.
âThis is a unique service that we are able to provide,â she said. âUsually when you are looking for a wig, these services are only available at a hair salon that lacks privacy. We provide a private, comfortable and special space here at the gift shop, and in this space, our only emphasis is on customizing the wigs to suit you and your style. “
People wanting a wig can go to the boutique without an appointment from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment only on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dana Farber / Jennifer Croes, executive director of Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center, said the store was “a non-judgmental place.”
âPeople can enter and there are no barriers,â she said. “There aren’t a lot of rigid requirements.”
Croes said the wig store had to relocate to the hospital’s main campus because the cancer treatment center is being renovated to accommodate more patients.
âWe are now able to offer the best of both worlds by offering treatments and a boutique just a few steps across the street. “
Noyes said the gift shop and its wigs allow cancer patients to get a hairpiece without going to the Dana Farber Cancer Institutes wig store in Boston.
Cancer and weak immune system cause hair loss
âA cancer diagnosis can produce a physical change that occurs as a result of the treatments they receive,â Croes said. âIt can shake a patient when they look at themselves in the mirror. They need to feel a sense of normalcy.
Croes said that many patients with hair loss following cancer treatments feel relief when they get a “hair prosthesis.”
âThey will look like they were before they were diagnosed,â she said. âCancer treatment is quite difficult for a patient both physically and emotionally. We want to do whatever we can to help them.
Croes said that wigs provide a person with comfort during the summer and winter seasons.
âDuring the winter months, you can be cold without hair,â she said. “During the summer, you can get sunburned on your head without hair.”
Croes said hair loss is particularly noticeable in women, and many want wigs to improve their appearance.
“Most men who lose their hair will put on a baseball cap,” she added.
Noyes said some children suffer from hair loss due to a weakened immune system.
âThere is a lack of resources for children’s wigs in Southeast Massachusetts and the South Shore,â she added. âThere is a need for these wigs. We will try to make sure that we can help this segment of the population. “
Bower said she would make sure every customer and patient who wants to purchase a wig is satisfied before they leave the store.
âI always ask the customer to try on the wig before leaving our store,â she said. “I want to make sure the wig is exactly what the customer is looking for and looks as natural as possible.”
Health insurance can cover purchases of wigs
Croes said some patients should check their health insurance policies before purchasing a hairpiece.
âA resident who has Mass. Health insurance can be reimbursed up to $ 350,â she said. âThe patient has to get a prescription from their doctor for a wig. A patient who purchases a wig must obtain a receipt for reimbursement from their insurance company. We can help you when submitting your receipts.