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Psychooncology. 2010 Jul;19(7):756-66. doi: 10.1002/pon.1637.

An evaluation of a computer-imaging program to prepare women for chemotherapy-related alopecia.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. rel8s@virginia.edu



This study was conducted to evaluate a computer program named Help with Adjustment to Alopecia by Image Recovery (HAAIR) that was developed to provide educational support and reduce distress in women with hair loss following chemotherapy.


Forty-five women who had been diagnosed with cancer and anticipated alopecia following treatment were randomly assigned to either the Imagining group (IG) or Standardized Care group (SCG). Patients in the IG used a computer-imaging program that created the patient's image on a screen to simulate baldness and use of wigs whereas patients in the SCG were directed to a resource room at the Cancer Center established for women with chemotherapy-related alopecia. Assessment data using the Brief Symptom Inventory, Importance of Hair Questionnaire, and the Brief Cope were completed at baseline (T1), before chemotherapy and hair loss, following hair loss (T2), and 3 months follow-up (T3).


All women were able to successfully use the touch screen computerized-imaging program and reported that using the computer was a positive, helpful experience, thus establishing acceptability and usability. Women in both the IG and the SCG group showed significantly lower hair loss distress scores at T2 after hair loss than at T1 with T3 distress scores increasing in the SCG and decreasing in the IG. Those with avoidance coping reported more distress.


This evaluation demonstrates that the HAAIR program is a patient-endorsed educational and supportive complement to care for women facing chemotherapy-related alopecia.

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