WHITE CLIFFS Hair Studio International

Cancer Hair Support - How French lace helped Sue beat the trauma of hair loss

Press Release   •   Oct 25, 2010 17:08 BST

Sue Lane was never warned about the side effects of Taxotere when she was prescribed the chemotherapy drug after being diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. But the 63-year-old property company secretary from Manchester recalls: 'My blonde hair - my pride and joy - fell out.' She was one of scores of women who contacted The Mail on Sunday after our story in May about permanent hair loss suffered by women who had taken Taxotere. Sue, who is married to David, 66, a retired managing director of a property firm, wrote: 'I had been warned by my oncologist that this would happen but he said that it would grow back again after my treatment came to an end, albeit perhaps a different texture or colour, so I was prepared for that. 'But when it didn't, I was referred to a professor of endocrinology and a dermatologist for tests. Both agreed I had been extremely unlucky.

'Eventually, sparse hair grew back and I was told that this was a recognised side effect of Taxotere.'However, with wigs and hats I have moved on and am lucky to have a very understanding husband and four gorgeous grandchildren. 'Of course I am truly grateful that I am fit enough to lead a very full life but, in a way, that adds to my distress because I feel guilty that my condition devastates me so much. 'I do hope that by publicising this issue, future patients may avoid having to experience this trauma by asking if there is, at least, an alternative option to this drug.' Not long after writing this letter, Sue heard about Cancer Hair Support, which is part of WC Hair Studio, a nationwide specialist hair-loss company.

Intrigued, she went to the flagship branch in London where she met hair systems consultant Jennifer Nyarku. 'Jennifer asked me what my dream hair would be and I said that I longed to have my "old" hair back and showed her a photo of myself a month before I was diagnosed,' says Sue. 'Back then, my hair was shoulderlength and medium blonde. I had found a cancer wig which I liked but it made my head uncomfortably hot, I couldn't wear it for sports or swimming and I was always paranoid that it would blow off or go askew if someone gave me a hug.' Jennifer told Sue that the hair systems WC provided are so lightweight that they allow the scalp to breathe.

'This "flexible hair replacement system" was actually a bespoke wig of fantastic quality which I would be able to attach to my head with medical-grade adhesive tape if swimming, for example, or not need to use the tape at all depending on what I was doing,' she says. 'I saw how realistic the result could be and decided that it would be worth the money - [pounds sterling]1,000 -- to have such an amazingly realistic hairpiece.' Amould of plastic film was painstakingly made of Sue's scalp with variations of density, partings, hair texture and skin tone. She was assured that the wig - a mix of blonde shades made from European human hair - would look totally natural because the base is made of very fine French lace. The scalp shows through this lace, which is designed to 'disappear' against the skin, creating a natural-looking parting and hairline.

A month later, Sue went back for her fitting. Once the wig had been cut to a sleek bob by a stylist, Sue was overcome. 'I was in tears. It was as if I'd been given back my real hair. Actually, it's even better - the style is more trendy. My family and friends love it. 'It's very secure and because of the way it has been made I can actually feel the rain on my head - something that most people try to avoid - but for anyone who has lost their hair for whatever reason, this small detail gives an immeasurable amount of joy.' Cancer Hair to have her cancer is in children lesion reviewed. Support at WC Hair Studio runs nationwide salons and offers home visits. Prices start at £600. Visit http://www.cancerhairsupport.com for more information.