Gyle Beausoleil, hair prosthesis advisor, guide Christine: “The goal is to try to find you”.
Christine should start losing her hair within a week. Hair that she has already cut very short “to make a transition”.
“For me, hair is appearance, looks, femininity. Your hair is you,” she says, supported by her husband Pascal, who leafs through the wig brochure with her.
After comparing the comfort and density of the hair offered by Gyle, she chooses a class 2 model. “It is covered up to 250 euros.
Since 2019, class 1 hair prostheses, made of synthetic hair and whose price does not exceed 350 euros, are fully reimbursed. Those of class 2, made of synthetic or natural hair and whose price can go up to 700 euros, are reimbursed up to 250 euros.
– 100% refunded? –
A situation that should soon change: a government amendment to the Social Security financing bill aims “to extend 100% health to hair prostheses for women treated with chemotherapy and to put an end to an injustice”.
An amendment retained in the text adopted via 49.3 at first reading in the National Assembly, and already defended by the National Health Insurance Fund in a report published this summer.
Christine’s mutual fund will cover the 300 euros of remaining costs, but “the 100% reimbursement would allow those who do not necessarily have good mutual funds to have better quality wigs. The wig must allow them to regain their personality” , she points out.
A vision shared by Aury Caltagirone, image consultant at the Gustave Roussy Institute, the first European cancer center located in Villejuif, near Paris. “The women find themselves drooling over the neighbor who was able to afford something better. It’s abuse!”.
For Monique Fremaux, the choice fell on a class 1 hair prosthesis. After a first appointment, this 75-year-old woman comes to pick up her wig before starting her treatment against breast cancer, which she had already fought in 2020.
“I had already worn a wig during my first chemotherapy, but I wanted to have a new one. It’s a bit psychological,” she admits. “For a woman, hair loss is difficult to accept. For example, I don’t show myself in front of my husband without the wig”, adds Monique.
– “that’s wonderful” –
During fittings, Gyle advises clients to adopt a wig that looks like them: “Some women want to take the opportunity to change their style, but they quickly realize that it’s too much of a wig.”
This is the case of Bouchra Addif, who first wanted to try a wig with long hair. “As soon as I put it on, I saw that it was wrong”, explains this 43-year-old woman who finally opts for shorter hair.
“I like this one, it’s beautiful!” enthuses Bouchra, who says she wears a wig “especially for children”.
She also chose a class 1 wig, an entry-level model. But for Gyle, “the best quality wig is how the person feels about it. It’s not about the price.”
If 100% reimbursement would be “good news”, for her, the lack of information also contributes to the renunciation of care. “A lot of women don’t know what’s out there, some oncologists don’t tell them about it.”
In 2021, 183,331 women were treated with chemotherapy, according to figures from the National Cancer Institute. At the same time, only 49,111 patients received reimbursement from Health Insurance for a hair prosthesis, “showing that too many women still give up these prostheses for financial reasons”, according to the government.