Bald Mistaken Identity Gone Mad

Being mistaken for a cancer patient is part of the unwanted package that is Alopecia. I get that after 11 years as a bald woman.  I’m accustomed to the stares, assumptions and accompanying comments.  I’ve blogged about it and commiserated with sister Alopecians on the topic.  I’m over it - it’s so last year, as the saying goes - until it happens again.


Recently I had a GI test at Moffitt Cancer Center.  Yeah, yeah, I know - wearing a beaubeau head scarf to a cancer center is asking for assumptions.  I was prepared for the inquisition and was armed with my answers.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the argument.  Even after identifying  myself as an Alopecian (standing proud and tall), I was still peppered with duplicate questions as if to say - we don’t believe you - hair loss equals cancer.  I was asked about my port line, if they were able to use the blood pressure cuff on my arm (for those with Lymphedema) and questioned about the date of my last chemo treatment.  I’m trying to devise a fireproof plan for avoiding all such assumptions and resulting questioning.

Any ideas?  Do I need to paint it on my face in big red letters?  Wear a big sign?  Ask them to read my unpublished autobiography before proceeding?  Maybe just a slip of paper with a medical definition of Alopecia areata would be sufficient. Help!

Susan Beausang,


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