Many women who go through breast cancer treatment have to deal with the loss of hair. We all know that a woman’s hair is truly her glory. So when a woman has to let go of something that makes her feel beautiful and like a woman, it’s a heartbreaking experience. But according to Flora Shepelsky–a highly-respected beauty entrepreneur, talented wig designer, and the founder of Design by Flora, a wig, fall, and topper design and manufacturing company, devastation is not always the first emotion cancer patients experience when their hair is no longer growing from their scalps. Flora says, “I work with a lot of brave women who instead of pondering and feeling sorry for themselves use their hair loss as a sign of strength. Some shave their heads prior to their hair loss, put on a wig and have no problem sharing their experience with others.”
Don’t misinterpret, just because these women are brave doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with the process of having to “shop” for hair. Flora says, “It’s not easy to tell people you are not well and that you will be losing your hair. Watching these women empower themselves by sharing their stories is an amazing feeling.” Flora never stops learning valuable life lessons from her amazing patients. Her favorite lesson? “Vanity is not everything. My health comes first,” Flora boldly states.
We got a chance to chat with Flora and she shared six incredible tips for any woman who is suffering hair loss because of cancer treatments. Check out her tips below:
TIP #1: Always use a professional wig designer or stylist.
Flora Shepelsky: Choose a realistic looking part and also a professional wig designer and stylist. Look for a proper fit and the best possible hair in your price range.
TIP #2: Do not use glue!
Do not go to hairdressers who have never worked with wigs before. Do not get a machine-made top. I do not recommend glue-on wigs for chemo patients because when the hair starts coming back it’s hard to keep the wig on and it also interferes with regrowth.
Must Read: Why Black Women Lose Their Hair
TIP #3: Make an appointment right after you’re diagnosed.
FS: At Design by Flora, all consultations are free. We always suggest making an appointment as soon you get diagnosed and before any hair loss. Do not cut or alter your hair in any way as this makes for an easy transition. During a consultation, we help you pick out a wig that is similar to your hair or a style of your choice. When cancer patients come to me, they still have hair. So, it’s necessary for me to find the right size cap and to predict how the fit will be when they do lose their hair and to be able to adjust it after the hair loss. I always recommend looking for a wig that has the same texture and color of your own hair. The fit is also extremely important.
TIP #4: Invest, invest, invest!
FS: Like everything else, you get what you pay for. Chemo patient needs a wig for at least a year if not longer, even if treatments are only four months long. It takes a while for hair to grow back. So, it can be considered an investment. A good wig will outlast a cheaper one.
TIP #5: Do not focus on your hair loss.
FS: Their challenges are getting well and to not focus on the hair loss. We will take care of the wig. As for the scalp, we have designed a Flora wig band that is worn under the wig to both protect the scalp and serve as a grip to keep the wig from sliding or having to glue it.
TIP #6: Don’t be afraid to use product in your wig.
FS: Put the product in the wig right after the wash and always let the wig dry overnight before styling. At www.DesignByFlora.com, we have dozens of videos on how to wash and style your wig at home.
Design by Flora is sponsoring a seven hundred member team with Sharsheret for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on October 20th.
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Check Out This Gallery Of Foods To Help Prevent Breast Cancer
1. Foods To Fight Cancer
While many causes of cancer are environmental--what we puff voluntarily (ie. tobacco), involuntarily (hazardous chemicals and fumes), or perhaps even excessive sun exposure, many of them are not. What we eat or don’t eat can also play a significant role. Important fact: Nothing in our diet can single handedly prevent or cure cancer, however these foods seemingly carry some cancer-protective properties. So eat up!
Red wine in particular. Due to it’s high concentration of the chemical resveratrol from the grape skin, a stemmed glass of vino is not only anti-cancer, but pro-heart. However, before you fill your glass to the rim, know that moderation is key. Over-consumption of alcohol can be associated with liver, breast and stomach cancers. So find the balance sis. Let’s say...one glass a day.
Bring on the leafy green vegetables, asparagus, beans, peas and lentils! Foods that are generally high in folate can pack some serious cancer-preventive properties thanks to the fact that folate and the related folic acid (or vitamin B9), is part of the vitamin B-complex family. Side salad anyone?
Get it crackin’ lady. Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients and healthy omega-3 fatty acids- which help your body fight inflammation. Research also suggests that walnuts may actually slow the growth of breast cancer tumors, therefore this nut could play a role in breast cancer management even after diagnosis.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Kin to the mustard or cabbage family: cabbage, broccoli, kale brussels sprouts and collards are all great sources of anti-cancer properties such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and the element selenium. But here’s the twist. The punch comes with the crunch: The more you chew the better it is for you since for proper release of these chemicals these veggies need to be fully broken down.
6. Ginger & Turmeric
Curry dishes on deck. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can slow cancer growth, while turmeric, the spice that forms the base of most curries, is from a root in the ginger family. The active ingredient curcumin has shown that it could play a role in helping fight breast cancer tumors when combined with certain drug based therapies. Plus, it also may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could protect your overall health.
More potent than it’s popular oil based form, ground flaxseeds include a component called lignans, which may actually decrease cancer growth. You can buy ground flaxseed or grind the seeds yourself using a coffee grinder. Then, sprinkle the ground flaxseed on salads, in smoothies or even bake them in muffins. Yum!
8. Green Tea
Green tea and white tea both contain catechins- extracts that seem to show some benefit in breast cancer prevention. Research suggests that green tea is also particularly effective at protecting your cells against environmental exposures that might increase the risk for cancer. However, you are going to have to down a lot of tea (think four or more cups a day) to achieve this effect. P.S. Sugary green tea drinks don’t count.
Looking for a great alternative to red meat that is packed with Vitamin D and Omega-3‘s? Fish oil and straight fish is your best bet when it comes to cancer prevention. Fish is also a smart lean protein source. So opt for salmon, mackerel, sardines, sea bass and tuna as cancer preventive diet choices.
Yes, chocolate (in moderation) can be healthy. That is, provided the cocoa-to-candy ratio remains high. So when cravings creep in reach for a dark chocolate bar with at least 70-percent cocoa (often spelled cacao). The closer to its bitter bean state the better. There is a class of chemicals in cocoa called catechins (also found in tea), that seem to offer protection against heart disease, stroke and you guessed it-- cancer.
If you see the word "berry," then eat it--especially since they are extremely healthy and power-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can aid cancer prevention. Most berries contain ellagic acid and other polyphenol antioxidants that inhibit tumor growth, however recent research suggests that blueberries, in particular, play a significant role in breast cancer management by enhancing the effect of the often prescribed drug tamoxifen (used primarily to fight off breast cancer cells).