Breast prostheses, wigs, and hair loss advice

Wigs and breast prostheses are offered to inpatients and outpatients, and you can be seen at any stage during or after your treatment.

Both the wigs and breast prostheses services are provided by an external supplier. A team at The Royal Marsden will help you with referral to the service.

External breast prostheses

You can get help with fitting and ordering an external breast prosthesis if you have had a mastectomy or other breast surgery. There is no charge for NHS patients. The full procedure will be explained to you before your appointment.

Wigs

The wig fitting team will help you to choose and order a wig if you have hair loss related to your cancer treatment.

It is much easier to match for style and colour when you still have your natural hair. At your appointment you will be able to view pictures of a range of acrylic wigs, colour swatches and examples of wigs. You will also be given advice on how to care for your wig and any special products you may need for this.

Prescription charges for wigs

There is a prescription charge for wigs, set by the Department of Health, which you will have to pay unless you meet the criteria on the list of exemptions. You can get advice about the cost of wigs when you are contacted to make an appointment.

How do I get an appointment?

Appointments for both services can be offered in various locations and you may chose to book an appointment at the most convenient one for you.

You can contact the therapies reception team directly for an appointment or ask a member of your clinical team to refer you.

Chelsea and Sutton: 020 7808 2759

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the service?

How can I get advice about wigs or prostheses?

Who provides the service?

What happens after I have been referred?

Where and when will the appointment take place?

What will happen at the appointment?

Can I bring someone along to my appointment?

When can I collect my wig or prosthesis?

How much does it cost?

Can my wig be altered?

What happens if I don’t find a wig from the selection offered by the supplier?

How can I contact the service provider?

 

Who can use the service?

The service is available to all patients registered with The Royal Marsden.

How can I get advice about wigs or prostheses?

If you are a patient at The Royal Marsden you may be referred to this service by speaking to your key worker, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, an Allied Health Professional, Doctor or other member of your clinical team.

Alternatively, you may contact Rehabilitation Reception at The Royal Marsden on 0207 808 2759 and request to be referred.

Who provides the service?

The Royal Marsden use an external provider for this service.

What happens after I have been referred?

After you have been referred, the service provider will contact you within a few days to arrange an appointment. Please note that this call may sometimes display as “no caller ID”. During this call, the provider may ask some questions about your preferences so that the team can offer the most suitable products at your appointment.

Where and when will the appointment take place?

You will be offered a face-to-face with the option of a virtual appointment if required. There are various locations, one of which will be close to the hospital site you usually attend. You may choose the location most convenient to you. Appointments are offered at various times from Monday to Friday.

What will happen at the appointment?

Wig service

At the appointment, you will be offered a choice of products to try on and will be given advice on maintenance and after care. There is no obligation to choose any of the products offered.

It may be useful to bring a photo of yourself if you would like to match a previous hairstyle and colour.

The service allows for the provision of one good quality synthetic wig to NHS patients. Additional wigs or more expensive products can be supplied for an additional cost which the service provider can advise on. If you choose a wig, you will be offered the option to purchase additional wig care products and a stand to hold the wig on. There is no obligation to purchase any additional products.

Appointments will usually take no longer than 45 minutes.

Prosthesis service

At the appointment, measurements will be taken if these are required.

A choice of tones and sizes are kept in stock and it is usually possible to provide the items at the first appointment. If the required prosthesis is not in stock, it can be ordered specifically.

Some appointments can be completed in as little as 20 minutes but more complex appointments may take 45 minutes to one hour.

Can I bring someone along with me?

Yes.

When can I collect my wig or prosthesis?

If the item is in stock, you may take it with you after the appointment. If the item is ordered, the service provider will let you know how long it is likely to take, usually within 2-4 weeks.

The item can then be posted to you or you can collect it if you prefer.

How much does it cost?

NHS patients will be supplied a standard wig and/or prostheses (and any necessary replacements). Many standard wigs and prostheses are within the allocated budget and so will be free of charge. If the style you prefer is more expensive, the service provider will advise on any charges to help you decide which product to choose.

Private patients will be offered a consultation but will have to pay for any products supplied. The service provider can advise on any charges.

Can my wig be altered?

A free wig trimming service is offered during the fitting appointment. Wigs from other suppliers can be trimmed for a small charge which the service provider can advise on. It will not be possible to return any wig that has been altered.

What happens if I don’t find a wig from the selection offered by the supplier?

The service provider has a wide range of products to choose from, many of which will be in stock for immediate collection. If the product is not in stock, it will be possible to order it. They will try to find suitable products from their extensive range of suppliers of quality products for daily use.

If you have seen a particular wig that you wish to obtain, the service provider will advise on whether this is possible.

Wigs are often available from several suppliers. If you decide to buy a wig elsewhere, you may be exempt from VAT. Please ask the company you purchase from for advice on that.

Prostheses are available in varying skin tones.

You will be unable to use your referral from The Royal Marsden to buy your wig or prosthesis elsewhere.

How can I contact the service provider?

The service provider will give you their email and phone contact details at the first appointment and you can use these for any queries you may have