Wigs and Hairpieces

Generally, women undergoing chemotherapy will find they start to suffer hair loss after the second treatment. 

You may find you wake up with hair over your pillow or you start to notice hair falling out in the shower or on your clothes.  Many women find the loss of hair to be a difficult experience.  It is a very obvious sign of cancer and the fact you are undergoing treatment.

A wig can be a good option to help restore confidence and self-esteem.  But there are also many attractive hats and scarves available and many women like to wear a hat to bed because they find their head can get cold.   

The Government subsidises wigs for adults with temporary hair loss up to $400.  If your wig costs more than this, you will need to pay the remainder.  The Wigs and Hairpieces Service Payment (WHSP) is administered by HealthPac on behalf of the Ministry of Health and is paid either directly to you, or to the supplier of the product.

The subsidy can be claimed if you are a New Zealand citizen or ordinarily resident here and if you are undergoing a treatment for breast cancer which causes hair loss.  To claim the subsidy you will need a Medical Certificate with your NHI number from your specialist.

Your specialist or breast care nurse should provide you with a list of wig suppliers in your area or you can contact your local division of the Cancer Society for help. When you have chosen your wig and head wear, the supplier will make the claim to HealthPac for you or you can make it yourself if you prefer. 

For further information, call the HealthPac contact centre on: 0800 458 448 or visit the Ministry of Health information page about subsidies for wigs and hairpieces.