Cancer and Hair Loss

Cancer and Hair Loss

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer and Hair Loss

 

 

How can I prepare for my impending hair loss?

 

Each have their own way of coping and preparing.  Many cancer patients will cut their hair and wear it in a shorter style a few weeks before they lose their hair. This helps to make the hair loss a bit less traumatic as and will also make the hair loss easier to manage when it begins to happen.

Many find that by shaving their head just before their hair loss happens, or when it starts to come out, that they regain a sense of control over the situation.

This also eliminates the trauma of hair falling out over a period of days. Most chemotherapy patients find that they gain peace of mind by being prepared and proactively shopping for head wear and wigs before their hair loss happens.

 

Others decide to forgo hats and wigs altogether and go bald.

 

 

No matter what you decide, having something warm for your head in the evenings is a must.  Also, considering sun protection is essential.   Again, the process is as unique as you are so go with what feels right for you.

 

 

Will I lose my eyebrows and eyelashes, too?

Every person reacts differently to treatments. It is common to not only lose scalp hair but also the hair on the rest of your body. This includes eyebrows and eyelashes. There are several options for replacing your eyebrows and eyelashes.

 

 

How long after chemotherapy will it take for my hair to fall out?

Drugs used during chemotherapy treat cancer by attacking the cancer causing cells in a patient’s body. Unfortunately, these drugs can also attack hair growth cells as well. Whether or not you experience hair loss during chemotherapy depends on the type of treatment, medication, and dosage you receive.

 

Most chemotherapy patients report losing their hair approximately 2-4 weeks after starting treatment.

Hair may come out in clumps or in single strands, all at once or gradually.  You may notice loose hair on your pillow, in your hair brush or shower drain.

If your hair falls out a lot at night, consider a sleep cap for for comfort and to catch the hair. A sleep cap can also help with the tenderness that chemotherapy treatments may also cause.

 

 

 

 

 

Does everyone who undergoes chemotherapy lose their hair?

No. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause hair loss.  Others merely cause thinning of the hair. Others may not cause hair loss at all.

Fortunately, in most cases, hair loss from chemotherapy is temporary. Consult with your doctor to determine the likelihood of hair loss in your particular situation.

 

 

How do I take care of my bald scalp?

It is very important to protect your skin during treatments. Your scalp will be especially sensitive to burning without the protection your hair provides. Apply a high quality full spectrum sunscreen, such as Elta Block, before exposing your scalp to the sun.

 

 

Alra Mild Conditioning Shampoo
 

 

Your skin can become dry during treatments. Wash your scalp using a gentle shampoo, such as Alra Shampoo.

 

As your hair begins to come back in, it may be brittle or dry. You will want to continue using the gentle shampoo in order to keep the hair nourished and encourage continued growth as your hair comes back in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will my hair loss affect my daily life?

 

Psychological Affects:

Because the causes for hair loss vary greatly, almost anyone can be affected by it. While hair loss is not a specifically medically serious condition, it can have a significant psychological impact on an individual.

Some people experience a wide range of emotions during and following hair loss. These emotions can include anger, depression, sadness and fear. They can also affect friends and family members.

 

 

Often, wearing a head cover, hat or hairpiece can help to quell some of the negative emotions associated with hair loss by making the wearer less self-conscious of the physical affects of their condition.

 

 

 

Physical Affects:

Additionally, there may be multiple physical affects of hair loss to deal with on a daily basis.

 

 

Common physical affects of hair loss include:

 

Cold Head: Most of a person’s body heat is lost through the top of the head and scalp. This is especially true at night when the body is at rest. However, when hair is covering the head, the heat does not escape as easily.

When experiencing hair loss, most people will find that their head gets cold rather quickly, especially at night.

I recommend wearing a sleep cap or covering of some sort at night to prevent chills and promote rest.

Cold weather can also cause discomfort to a bald or balding head. A soft, warm cap or beanie is great for blocking wind and snow.

 

Sunburned Scalp: A bare scalp receives more exposure to the elements than one with hair covering it. To prevent sunburns on the scalp, always apply a high SPF sunscreen before sun exposure. Most hats and head covers will protect your head from the sun, while also keeping the sun out of the eyes and off of the face.

 

What will my hair look like when it grows back in?

It is unique to every individual. Some find that it comes back in the same as it was before treatments. Others will find that it may grow back with a different texture, fullness or even a different color than it was before the treatments.

 

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These changes are usually temporary and most individuals find that their hair will return to its original color and texture after several months.

 

 

How do I take care of my hair when it comes back in?

Hair may take several weeks after finishing treatment to begin regrowth.

Hair after chemotherapy or radiation is often lacking protein and weak. Therefore it is recommended that you:

 

Use gentle, vitamin induced shampoos free of dyes (See Alra Shampoo)

Avoid harsh or strenuous brushing

Use a soft massaging brush

Avoid or use gentle settings when using hairdryers

 

 

Try this Semi Oval 100 Soft Boar Wood Handle For Very Fine Hair is very gentle To The scalp. The soft bristle is specially designed for fine thin hair and balding men or women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing your hair as part of illness or chemotherapy can be upsetting.  Being kind to yourself, protecting your scalp and finding an attractive head covering (if you wish) can help.

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Head Scarves for Hair Loss

Best Hats for Covering Chemo Hair Loss

Best Wigs for Chemo Patients

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8 comments

  • Brooke

    Hi Laurie.

    Just navigated through your site and you already have an amazing amount of content. Bravo.

    Your site is clean, easy to navigate and all of the links function properly. I love your message: Please help others by sharing this post.

    My only suggestion would be to make About the Blog and About Me into two separate menu items.

    My mom has breast cancer and just completed radiation after chemo and two surgeries. I am sharing this post with her.

    Thank you!

  • jeffrey16201

    wow, I am impressed you appear like a different person without your hair. Your product review sounds very tempting, if I ever lose my hair I will remember you and your product.

    I hope if you do have cancer you doing much better now, if not you are one crazy lady to shave your head for your product review.

    • admin

      Thanks for your comment, Jeffrey. I do not have cancer or hair loss, and none of the photos in the post are ofme (there is a photo of me near the bottom of this post “About this Blog and Me.”)

  • Tim

    Your page was very informative and covers a wide range of questions.
    You make it very clear by covering this wide range of questions that you will put anyone who visits your site at ease because have answered for the most part every questions may come up on cancer and hair loss. But I did notice that in couple of places you are missing some words and that is a minor fix.
    Best of luck to you and your website.
    Tim

  • Gary

    I lost my sister to liver cancer last summer. She had been told that the treatment would probably cause her hair to fall out.

    I like your suggestion for a cancer patient to cut her hair short before the treatment. I think that might have helped my sister.

    I’m sure your site, particularly your article on cancer and hair loss, is helping a lot of people.

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