Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Just Finished Breast Cancer Treatment, Am I at Risk for Lymphedema?

Women who have undergone breast cancer surgery and/or radiotherapy are particularly at risk for developing lymphedema.  An individual who has had any type of breast cancer surgery or therapy is at risk of developing lymphedema. The National Lymphedema Networks 10 Precautions for Women at Risk of Lymphedema include the following:

  1. Do not ignore any slight increase of swelling in the arm, hand, fingers, neck, or chest. Call your doctor. The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it will be.
  2. Never allow an injection, needle stick, or blood pressure cuff in the affected arm. Breaks in the skin allow infection causing bacteria to enter. Pressure on the arm may damage existing lymphatics.
  3. Avoid heavy lifting with the affected arm. Never carry heavy handbags with over-the-shoulder straps. Be especially careful lifting children and groceries. Do not lift more than 15 pounds at a time as excessive weight lifting can place a burden on the lymphatic system.
  4. Do not wear tight jewelry or elastic bands on the affected arm/hand as these may obstruct the lymphatics.
  5. Avoid injuries to the arm such as cat scratches, cuts, sunburn, insect bites as these may serve as a portal for bacteria to enter and cause infection.
  6. Avoid extreme temperature changes when bathing, washing dishes. Stay out of the sauna and hot tub. Keep the arm protected from the sun. Temperature changes may lead to increased swelling.
  7. Wear gloves while performing gardening or housework. This will prevent any type of minor injury that could result in increased swelling.
  8. Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Light exercise is beneficial.
  9. Wear well-fitted supportive bras that are not too tight and without wires. Avoid a heavy prosthesis. These may put extra pressure on the collarbone and shoulders.
  10. Wear a compression sleeve in airplanes, as the change in pressure may  increase the risk of swelling. Remember to drink plenty of water.

For more information about breast cancer treatment and lymphedema, contact Kristen at 713-623-4247. She is a certified BOC, ABC custom garment fitter and can help you find the right compression garment for your needs.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooling Cap Shows Promise to Prevent Hair Loss During Chemo

- as published in The National Hair & Skin Journal

A new scalp-cooling system called DigniCap has just been FDA cleared for final clinical trials and may soon become available in the U.S. to help prevent Chemo related hair loss.

Clinical trials done in Europe and Asia show that eight out of ten women who used the DigniCap System during chemotherapy retained their hair. Cooling the scalp during chemo sessions can narrow blood vessels around hair follicles and slow the uptake of the poison in the area.

With DigniCap, patients wear a special cap that fits snuggly on the head and contains sensors and channels through which a cooling fluid is pumped. The system continuously keeps a check on the temperature to ensure consistent application of the cooling treatment. DigniCap is made by Swedish company Dignitana.

A recent story about DigniCap was published by the Associated Press in the United States about the product and its results. You can read the story here.

Although DigniCap is not currently available for U.S. cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, our team here at Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness will assist you or a loved one during chemotherapy hair loss and create a personalized hair loss solution to help you feel confident during your treatment. For more information about how we can help, call us at 713-623-4247.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Great Tool for Cancer Patients and Caregivers

Have you or a loved one experienced a health crisis? If so, you know how difficult it is to manage your doctor's appointments, treatment and communicate with family and friends.

CaringBridge is a non-profit organization which offers free personalized websites to people facing a serious medical condition or hospitalization, undergoing medical treatment and/or recovering from a significant accident, illness, injury or procedure.

It functions similar to a blog and allows family members and friends to receive consistent information via a single website, and eliminates the need to place and receive numerous telephone calls or individual emails.

Visitors are invited to view each individual website and can read updates on a patient's condition or post their own messages of support and encouragement.

The site also offers a Support Planner which is a calendar that helps family and friends coordinate care and organize helpful tasks, like bringing a meal, offering rides to appointments or taking care of pets and other needs.

Each website is password protected to ensure a space for personal and private conversations and the service is free of charge.

As part of our goal to educate our clients in their mastectomy, hair loss or lymphedema needs, our team will help you set up convenient appointments that meet your busy schedule. That's why we are open 6 days a week, and can even arrange home or on-site visits.

To schedule an appointment, call 713-623-4247 today!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I suffer from Trichotillomania, or Trich. My hair pulling has caused bald patches on my head. Is there some sort of hair loss solution that you can recommend for my condition?

Trichotillomania is a disorder where there is an irresistible desire to pull out one’s hair. At Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness, we get calls every week from a person who has trich. 
Our team has created a safe and private environment for our clients.  We strive to be a part of your recovery, working in tandem with you to boost your confidence and help you reach your goal to stop hair pulling.
As problem-solvers, we use a specialized medical adhesive to bond hair to the head to cover bald spots.  By using this unique bond, the new hair stays on for a full month, ensuring that you can return to a normal lifestyle and enjoy various activities such as swimming without the worry of the new hair detaching.  
Clients can wash their new hair, blow it dry, and even use a curling or flat iron.  By covering the “hot spots” with hair that looks and feels natural, it helps our clients feel as if the new hair is a part of them, and gives them time to gain the confidence and strength to face their triggers.
Our trich hair replacement process allows our clients to take the steps necessary to return to a normal life.  We are so proud of our Trich clients.  They are smart, successful, beautiful and strong! 
Contact us at 713-623-4247 to find out how we can help you or a loved one find a solution to stop hair pulling.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Is it OK to exercise with lymphedema?

Yes, exercise is safe and beneficial for individuals with lymphedema, as long as a few standard guidelines are followed.

  1. Always wear your compression bandages or garments when exercising – Compression garments help to move your lymph fluid from your limbs, trunk or face.  Without the garments, lymph fluid will collect in the affected area and increase swelling.
  2. Get clearance from your doctor – As always, it’s a good idea to discuss your exercise goals with your physician and to make sure that you are in good overall health before starting an exercise program.
  3. Start slowly – Your exercise program should include stretching, strengthening and endurance.  Some good examples of exercise programs are: Yoga, walking, swimming or cycling.  It is NOT advised to engage in high-speed activities like tennis, water skiing or football.
  4. Hydrate – Hydration is super important to maintaining a healthy body, and even more important for people with lymphedema, as it aids in your body’s ability to expel lymph fluid.
  5. Pay attention to your body – It is important that you feel good after exercising!  If you notice increased swelling, then you will want to choose a different activity for that day (i.e. swim instead of walk).

We want to assist you in reaching your exercise goals.  With our dedicated staff on your team, we can ensure that your custom compression garments will support you in your exercise program.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment options.  Our certified lymphedema specialists will be happy to answer your questions about how we can help you or someone you know who have lymphedema.  Call today at 713-623-4247, or email us at

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I was just diagnosed with breast cancer and am terrified about losing my hair during chemotherapy treatment! How can Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness help me?

When a woman is diagnosed with cancer her world is rocked off its axis.  And frequently treatment involves surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, which can result in hair loss.  Often women find hair loss from chemotherapy treatment more emotionally devastating than the diagnosis of cancer itself.

At Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness, we set ourselves apart from other traditional wig shops because we are in the hair duplication business.  We provide a supportive and discreet environment for all of our clients; hair loss, mastectomy or lymphedema clients.  Our dedicated team will help guide you through your hair loss by:

  • educating you about the effects of chemotherapy and when to expect hair loss to occur
  • verifying and billing your insurance
  • assisting you in choosing the right cranial prosthesis for your lifestyle
  • prepping your new hair for delivery
  • serving as your extended support system throughout the whole process

When a client is faced chemotherapy hair loss, we ask them to immediately come in with their cranial prosthesis prescription before chemotherapy treatment begins, for a complimentary consultation.  During this consultation we will discuss all of your options to help you stay confident during your temporary hair loss.

We will then educate you about the different types of wigs (human hair wigs and synthetic hair wigs) and help you decide what hair loss solution will work best for you to give you the most realistic duplication of your natural hair.

All of our consultation rooms are private and are equipped with the best salon hair styling equipment available.  A team member will explain the process of when hair loss will begin and most importantly when your natural hair will regrow.

If you choose a human hair wig, Ricky Knowles, our internationally-renowned wig stylist will color, and hi-light the hair.  Synthetic hair wigs, cannot be colored or hi-lighted, but there are many shades and hues available.

Since we assist many women and men during their chemotherapy treatment, we've become personal cheerleaders, empowering our clients in their individual fight against cancer.

Many clients will request to have us shave or cut their hair short, so that they are in charge of their hair loss. At this point, a RNHW team member will teach you how to care for your scalp and fit you with your new hair and cut and style the new hair.  After the finishing touches are completed, we will even demonstrate scarf tying methods and show you our selection of stylish turbans and hats.

We stand by our methods and will deliver a final product that will make you feel confident in your new hair.  Since our goal is to duplicate your natural hair and style, our clients look good and feel good with Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness by their side!

For more information about our line of natural and synthetic wigs, or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 713-623-4247.