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Helping breast cancer patients cope with hair loss

24 February 2015

Hair is an integral part of identity and for breast cancer patients its loss can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are exploring a new way of helping women manage the distress of hair loss during chemotherapy.

The project is investigating the use of a technique known as expressive writing, which has been successfully used with other patient groups, but not with breast cancer patients who have been affected by hair loss.

Melissa Pilkington, a PhD researcher from UWE's Centre for Appearance Research, is conducting the study to see whether writing might help patients manage their thoughts and feelings about hair loss. The study is funded by Breast Cancer Campaign.

Melissa said: "We know that many patients find hair loss to be a very upsetting part of their cancer treatment. If found to be effective, expressive writing could be an easy and very cost-effective way of supporting breast cancer patients through this difficult time."

Taking part in the study involves writing for 20 minutes each day for four consecutive days on a topic given by the research team, and completing three questionnaires.

To find out more about Melissa's research or to volunteer for this study, please email

Helping breast cancer patients cope with hair loss
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