The South East Cancer Help Centre, based at Tesco’s, Purley, has a new service to help patients care for their hair during and after their cancer treatment.
Not all cancer treatments result in hair loss, but when this does occur SECHC’s in-house hairdresser can make a patient’s hair more manageable by either cutting it or shaving it. She can also advise about how to care for hair when it starts to grow back.
Volunteer Michele Faust, who has been a qualified hairdresser for 33 years, said, “Quite often people go to their hairdressers to have their head shaved without realising that it is going to happen in front of other customers and they suddenly find that they are on show. At SECHC a room is set aside offering privacy and confidentiality and it is up to the individual to decide whether they want someone to accompany them to give them support.”
Most cancer patients in England are now expected to buy their own wigs and the huge range of types, styles, quality and prices can leave them feeling overwhelmed.
“I didn’t realise how little help and advice is out there until two of my clients told me they had cancer and asked me to help them choose wigs,” Faust said.
“They also told me all about the help and support SECHC had given them and it was then that I decided to approach SECHC and offer my services free of charge. I felt that at this stage in my life I had time to give something back and felt this was the best use of my skills.
“I like to meet a patient before they choose a wig so we can discuss what shapes and styles suit their face and what colour flatters their complexion. Once they have bought their wig I can shape it to make it look more natural. I also advise them about caring for their wig as it does not need to be cleaned as much as normal hair and quite often using the right brush makes all the difference.”
One of Faust’s first clients was Patricia Bater, a member of the centre who wanted advice about how to manage her hair when it started to grow back following chemotherapy. “My hair had wispy bits which Michele shaved off and it is now growing back more evenly,” Bater said. “She was very helpful and sensitive … in fact, I have recently asked to see her again for more advice.”
SECHC chairman, Jennifer Mollett, said, “We are delighted that Michele has come on board and several members have already told us how much they have benefitted from her help and support.”
To make an appointment with Michele please call SECHC’s Centre Manager, Lynda Kenison, on 020 8668 0974.
- SECHC, which has local NHS recognition, can be found in the Tesco Development, 2 Purley Road, Purley, CR8 2HA. Hypnotherapy, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Mindfulness Meditation and Reflexology are just some of the therapies available. Activities include yoga, Tai Chi, drama, relaxation, and arts and crafts. SECHC offers bereavement, family, telephone and individual counselling sessions and there are various support groups including specific ones for those with ovarian, bowel, prostate, or breast cancer
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