A chemo hat serves many purposes. First, it must provide complete coverage of the scalp, including areas we may not initially consider scalp, until our hair is gone, that is. Once bald, it becomes instantly clear that care must be taken to cover areas where sideburns once were, areas above the ear, and in the back of our heads, just above the neck. Unlike “regular” hats, chemo hats are designed to ensure complete coverage of these areas.

Chemo hats must fit securely enough to provide the wearer with a sense of security. We wants hats that stay on when we bend down, move our heads quickly, or find ourselves in the middle of a gusty wind.

Chemo hats MUST be comfortable. They should be made from soft fabrics - flannel, soft knits, fleece, cotton, and terry. We should be able to put them on without a degree from a fashion institute. No scarves that must be folded or pleated or tucked or braided, please! These intricate head coverings may work well for a few women, but most of us want a hat we can put on  quickly and go about our business.

Chemo hats should be AFFORDABLE! Many of us have to take a leave of absence from work in order to receive treatment. We may be going from a two income family to a one income family. Worse, we might be the sole provider in the family.

How MANY hats do I need? If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy as many hats as you wish, or are even luckier to receive lots of hats as gifts, you’ll agree that you can never have too many. Remember, you wear a hat every day - you’ll want dressy hats, warm hats, lightweight hats, casual hats - in other words, hats to fit your mood, the occasion, your clothing, and your budget.

When you tell people you’re newly diagnosed, they’re going to ask what they can do to help. Ask someone to host a hat party for you - everyone attending brings a chemo hat. It will be a good time for you to deal with the reality of hair loss, and laughing about it is the best medicine.

I hope this guide will prove helpful to you. Most important, though, please accept my best wishes to you for a full and speedy recovery. All of us, all the women who have traveled this road before you - are urging you on. When you finally cross the finish line, listen closely for the sound of our cheers.