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UNDERSTANDING HAIR LOSS & CHEMO

Understanding hair loss and chemo

It is only natural that this may be a very sensitive time for you with many questions that are on your mind. Your emotions too can be in a whirl. We are here to help you look good and feel better through this time.

When it comes to preparing for and dealing with hair loss it is so important to have the facts in front of you. So that if you need to, you can think through both your practical and emotional needs.

It may be difficult to face up to hair loss, we often hear people say “I feel that I am being so vain to worry about my hair when I should be worrying about other things” – simply, you are not.

Appearance is important to nearly everybody. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious and upset about any possible outward changes in how you look – so let us help.

Let’s start by understanding how your treatment type may or may not affect your hair care.



Chemotherapy and hair loss
Chemotherapy is the term used to describe medicines which treat cancer with chemicals (drugs). The reason to have any medication or treatment is to try and help eradicate the cancer so that the body can heal. In other words to have a beneficial effect, but unfortunately chemotherapy can have some unwelcome side effects. Hair loss or hair thinning can be one of those.

Some key points about chemotherapy and hair loss

• Hair loss is one of the most commonly known side effects of chemotherapy

• Not all chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss 

• Hair loss is normally temporary, meaning that it usually grows back after treatment - this is what we plan for

• After chemotherapy most people see a small amount of new hair growing within a few weeks

• Sometimes a technique called  Scalp Cooling or Cold Cap can be used with certain chemotherapy drugs to help reduce hair loss

• There are plenty of ways to look good and feel better if hair loss occurs

Whether or not you will experience hair loss as a side effect usually depends on the type and dosage of chemotherapy drugs you are taking.


What goes on inside the body to cause hair loss?
It is usually a temporary disruption to your normal system of hair growth as the hair nearly always grows back after chemotherapy treatment. Let’s try and explain the science bit:

Chemotherapy works by attacking cancer cells to get rid of them from the body and eradicate the cancer. Because this treatment enters the blood stream it means that other normal cells in the body can also be affected. Chemotherapy treatment attacks the quick growing cancer cells in the body. Unfortunately it also attacks other normal quick forming cells in the body. Hair is one of these quick forming cells and thus is affected.

When the sensitive hair bulb, which holds the hair root, is attacked, it affects the hair in different ways. This can include hair being brittle and dry, thinning and falling out which results in hair loss.

Will my hair grow back?
Yes - it normally always does so.

Unfortunately hair loss and hair thinning can be a very common side effect of certain types of chemotherapy (but not all). But as treatment to get rid of cancer is essential it is a necessary measure.

The good news is that it nearly always grows back. In other words, the hair is only temporarily affected and it is very rare for the hair not to grow back at all. This is so very rare that most advice sheets will not mention it – occasionally and very rarely hair doesn’t grow back. This can be as a result of long term medication or could be another hair problem where the person may have been affected by hair loss regardless of the cancer treatment - BUT most of the time is does grow back.

So the rule we stick to is that we plan for hair to grow back as it nearly always does so.
The hair commonly starts to grow back after treatment when the hair is not being affected by the chemotherapy drugs.


We understand that your priority is to find out if hair loss may affect you and just what options you have in the way of hair loss prevention, covering up, looking and feeling good. A host of ideas, inspiration and support is just a click away. You really won’t have to give up on looking good because it’s all here waiting for you.

Let’s get started to helping you look good and feel better about hair loss during chemotherapy treatment. Knowing facts and making a plan will help you to take control.

We recommend that you read through our section pre-treatment commonly asked questions and answers for more in-depth information and guidance.


 

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Please kindly note that Cancer Hair Care and The Caring Hair Boutique are not designed to provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor if you have any medical concerns or queries.