By the nature of its side effects, cancer treatment can make a private battle a very public affair. For a woman with cancer, having a bald head, pale skin or a missing breast can make her feel like she's being targeted by a bright spotlight and a banner that says, "cancer patient."
But now more than ever, there are resources for women that will put the spotlight back on their work, their accomplishments and their life—and change that banner to simply read, "woman."
Below are several Philadelphia area wig salons that specialize in assisting cancer patients and survivors.
Girls On The Go
Call 1-800-355-6976 to schedule a private, in home wig consultation. Girls On The Go serves Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks Counties.
Wig Elegance is a full service wig salon that offers a professional staff which includes licensed cosmetologists and a cancer survivor.
1331 Lincoln Highway
Levittown, PA 19056
Chestnut Hill Hospital Cancer Resource Center
The cancer resource center at CHH offers a Wig Boutique. Breast cancer patients are welcome to a complimentary wig or scarf.
8835 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118
This wig shop and post mastectomy boutique is owned and operated by cancer survivors. The shop carries a full line of wigs, silicone and lightweight breast forms, mastectomy bras, swim forms, swim suits, exercise clothing, and lingerie.
961 Downintown Pike
West Chester, PA 19380
Gerry Mayo of Endless Creations offers hair replacement options for cancer patients including extension techniques and custom made wigs. This Upper Darby salon also offers skin services and make-up.
7000 Terminal Square Suite 100A
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Breast cancer survivor Sheril Cohen started Girls On The Go after her own struggles with hair loss that were matched only by the frustrating process of getting a wig.
"Wig shopping was awful," Cohen shares on her website. "[The attendant] tried to sell me this wig. I thought it was a cute cut, but I thought it made me older and unattractive. I cried. I felt sexy with my long hair. With this wig on I felt like a suburban fortysomething-year-old soccer mom. I was successful, single, a thirtysomething NYC woman. I wanted to retain me—not become someone I did not recognize."
Now Cohen proudly sells wigs of all kinds—synthetic, hybrid, human hair—to women all over the country, providing, as one of her clients says, privacy.
"I felt so like myself in my wig," said Ellen, a client. "No one knew. People who knew I had been diagnosed but did not know much else used to come up to me at events and ask when I was going to start chemo or if I had chosen a doctor yet. I did not have to tell anyone anything I did not want to tell them."
As women in chemotherapy treatment discover, hair loss isn't limited to their locks. It means no eyebrows, no eyelashes and, as Cohen points out, one bright spot—no shaving.
Women can visit a lash studio to get back that feminine flutter of the lashes, and maybe even amp up their look with a few sexy, extra-long lash extensions.
If you are looking for something to help you look and feel great, these Delaware Valley boutiques can help.
Touchables The Bra Store
Located on Main Street in the Manayunk, Touchables motto is, "Love hurts. Your bra shouldn't."
4309 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127
Voted one of the top lingerie stores in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Hope Chest offers a large selection of brands and over 20 years experience.
379 West Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041
Jay Ann Intimates
This boutique has specialized in bras and lingerie since 1955. They offer personal, certified mastectomy fitters to ensure a proper fit with bras and prosthesis.
2052 County Line Road
Huntingdon Valley PA 19006
There are also resources online for women who have had surgery during treatment. KA Mastectomy Bras and Apparel, started by survivor Kimberly Ashmand, features pretty and practical bras tailored to the unique needs of survivors, as well as some with a little lace and sparkle to help women feel sexy again.
Patricia Monte and the staff of The Grand Hair Salon in Buckingham, Bucks County, is commited to helping women become empowered and feel reassured of their natural beauty during and after cancer. Monte, the salon owner, has personally dealt with the hair loss and skin changes caused by chemotherapy. The salon offers skin, hair, nail and wig services.
Some spas and salons offer specials for breast cancer survivors during the month of October. Click here for a list of spa retreats specifically for cancer survivors.
The Pink Hair For Hope campaign has brought together more than 1,000 salons and raised over two million dollars to fight breast cancer.
Adopting a new look during treatment is about more than simply feeling good for the moment—it can be another weapon in a woman's arsenal against cancer, giving her a deep well of positivity to sustain her.
Patch wants to know what matters most to you, whether it's hair, make-up, or lingerie. Share in the comments below what makes you feel the most beautiful.