Chemo Hair Loss Explained
What to Expect During Chemotherapy and Hair Loss
Not all chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss.
Your doctor will be able to tell you whether your specific chemotherapy treatment is likely to cause hair loss.
This allows you to plan ahead for head coverings or hair loss treatments.
You may not realise how important your hair is until you lose it.
Going through hair loss on top of fighting cancer can cause anxiety for those undergoing chemo treatments.
Victoria Derbyshire, a BBC TV and radio presenter, has described hair loss as the most difficult aspect of her cancer treatment.
Many people interpret hair loss as a sign that they have cancer.
If you aren't comfortable sharing this information with others, you may be more concerned about this side effect than you are about other chemotherapy complications.
Discussing your concerns with your cancer care team and preparing for the possibility of hair loss may help you cope with this difficult side effect of treatment.
Why does chemotherapy cause hair loss?
Chemotherapy drugs are strong medications that target rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also attack your body's other rapidly growing cells, including those in your hair roots. Chemotherapy may result in hair loss throughout your body, not just on your scalp. Eyelash, brow, armpit, pubic, and other body hair may fall out at times.
Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than others, and treatment significantly can result in anything from thinning or patches to total baldness.
Fortunately, most hair loss caused by chemotherapy is temporary.
You can expect your hair to regrow three to six months after your treatment, though it may be a different colour or texture at first.
Is Chemo Hair Loss Permanent?
No! Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, and not all chemotherapy causes total hair loss.
Everything depends on the treatment you receive.
Your doctor will be able to tell you if and what type of hair loss may occur during treatment. Hair typically begins to fall out two to four weeks after treatment begins.
What to expect?
Hair usually starts falling out two to four weeks after you start treatment, and it can fall out quickly in clumps or gradually.
You'll probably notice pile of loose hair on your pillow, in your hairbrush or comb, or in your sink or shower drain
These are the moments give low feelings so we recommend to internally prepare yourself for these moments so you can feel strong regardless what happens. These are the time, just use a cap or hat so you can easily handle the moments and feel good about yourself.
Your hair loss will continue throughout your treatment and for several weeks afterwards.
Your treatment will determine whether your hair thins or you go completely bald. Consult with your doctor what to expect and prepare yourself accordingly.
Is Chemo Hair Loss permanent?
Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, and not all chemotherapy results in total hair loss. It all depends on the treatment you receive. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether or not you will experience hair loss during treatment. Hair typically begins to fall out two to four weeks after treatment begins.
What can we expect?
Hair typically starts falling out two to four weeks after you begin treatment, and it can fall out in clumps or gradually.
You may notice larger clumps of hair in the shower, on your hairbrush, or a pile of hair on your pillow case in the morning. Because of the treatment, your scalp may become sensitive.
These are the moments that cause low feelings, so we recommend that you mentally prepare yourself for them so that you can feel strong no matter what happens.This is the time to wear a chemo sleep cap or cancer hat so you can easily handle the situations and feel good about yourself.
Hair loss will continue during treatment and for a few weeks afterwards.
Your treatment will define whether your hair thins or create patch baldness or completely baldness.
When will your hair regrow?
It may take several weeks for your hair to recover and begin growing again after treatment. When your hair grows back, it will most likely be slightly different from the hair you lost. However, the difference is generally only temporary.
Your new hair may be different in texture or colour. It may be curlier than before, or it may be grey until the cells that control the pigment in your hair reactivate.
Can hair loss be avoided?
There is no treatment that assures your hair will not fall out during or after chemotherapy.
Several treatments have been studied as potential ways to prevent hair loss, but none have proven to be completely effective, such as Cooling caps for the scalp (scalp hypothermia).
To slow blood flow to your scalp during chemotherapy infusions, a tightly fitting cap cooled by chilled liquid can be placed on your head. Chemotherapy drugs are less likely to affect your hair in this manner. Scalp cooling caps and other forms of scalp hypothermia have been studied and found to be somewhat effective in the majority of people who have tried them. However, because your scalp does not receive the same dose of chemotherapy as the rest of your body, there is a very small risk of cancer recurring. People who have scalp hypothermia report feeling uncomfortably cold and distress from headaches.
How Do You Prepare for Chemo Hair Loss?
Hair loss cannot be prevented or controlled, but it can be managed.
To reduce the frustration and anxiety associated with hair loss, take the following steps throughout your treatment.
Prior to treatment
Be aware of your hair and gentle with it. Make it a habit to treat your hair carefully.
Don't bleach, colour, or perm your hair because it will weaken. Allow your hair to air dry as much as possible and avoid using heating tools like curling irons and hot rollers. Supporting your hair now may help it stay in your head for a little longer during treatment.
Wait until your new hair has grown stronger before colouring or bleaching it.
Processing may cause damage to your new hair as well as irritation to your sensitive scalp.
Consider using head coverings until your hair grows strongly rather than trying to give it a shape before it is ready to show itself.
Please be patient. Your hair will most likely grow back slowly and may not look normal right away. However, growth takes time, as does the repair of the damage caused by your cancer treatment.
Using a Headwear for Hair Loss
Covering your head as your hair falls out is entirely up to you. Many people associate their hair with their personal identity and health, so they choose to maintain that look by wearing a wig. Others prefer for hats and scarves.
Others prefer not to cover their heads at all. Even if you are a wig user, keep a everyday bamboo cap or bandana with you all times as wigs can be uncomfortable most of the times. You may need to change with full headcover when that happens so you can contunie your day without interruption.