Chemotherapy and hairloss

How does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

Chemotherapy drugs are medicines that kills cancer cells. The cells that make hair also get sick from chemotherapy, and this makes your hair fall out. Your hair will usually grow back after you finish chemotherapy in 4-6 weeks.

Will my chemotherapy cause hair loss?

Some chemotherapy medicines cause more hair loss than others. Your doctor can tell you if your chemotherapy causes hair loss. Every person is different, and you may have more or less hair loss than most people who get the same chemotherapy. You should wash and style your hair normally. This will not increase hair loss.

Can I stop my hair from falling out?

Chemotherapy is carried in the blood, and cold skin has less blood flow. For this reason, doctors have tried cooling the scalp to protect hair cells from chemotherapy. The United States Food and Drug Administration recently said that scalp-cooling devices are safe to use during chemotherapy. Unfortunately, these devices give most people headaches, and they do not prevent hair loss for most patients. Studies also show that people who choose not to use these devices feel just as happy as people who use them. There is currently no effective treatment to prevent hair loss.

What are my options if my hair falls out?

Hair loss with chemotherapy is most often temporary, but can be very distressing. During chemotherapy, if you have hair loss, you may consider a temporary wig. Your doctor will give you a prescription so that your insurance will help pay for a wig. Wigs can be fitted and styled for your comfort and can help you feel more like yourself. If your do not want a temporary wig, you should wear a hat or scarf to protect your scalp from sunburn, or to stay warm. It is recommended that you contact a hair loss solutions specialist to discuss your options.

Information used from Saint Vincent's Cancer Wellness Center

See further:

Cold Caps  by The American Cancer Society

Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Scalp Cooling in the Prevention of Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia by National Center for Biotechnology Information

Chemotherapy and hair loss: What to expect during treatment by Mayo Clinic