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Can Breast Cancer Cause Hair Thinning

How Soon After Treatment Can I Start Dyeing My Hair Again

Mayo Clinic Minute: Expert advice for women with thinning hair

Its generally recommended that you avoid using hair dyes for at least 6 months after finishing your cancer treatment, to avoid placing your hair under any additional stress and to give your hair follicles and scalp a chance to recover.

After your treatment, and as any lost hair begins to regrow, you should continue to treat your hair and scalp gently. Avoid heavy brushing, massaging or rubbing, and use mild, natural shampoos and styling products. You can see a range of scalp-friendly hair care products here.

When your hair begins to grow back, its likely to be fragile and more prone to damage. You may find that its quite fine and fuzzy to begin with. Your scalp may also feel dry, sore or irritable.

Before using a hair dye, its important to make sure that your hair is growing well and that your scalp is healthy and not sore or irritated.

Bear in mind that your hair and scalp may react differently after cancer treatment, and if your hair is dry, brittle or lighter in colour than normal the results may be different to the ones you might normally expect. You should always perform a strand and sensitivity test 48 hours before using a hair dye, even if youve used the product before.

Its also a good idea to have a chat with your hairdresser to see if they can advise you on protecting and caring for your hair following your treatment.

What Can I Do If Hair Loss Is Expected With My Radiation Therapy Treatment

Each person responds differently when learning that they may experience hair loss. There is no right or wrong response. Whatâs important is to do what you feel comfortable with, to do what is right for you. If you expect to lose the hair on your head during your cancer treatments, the following tips may be helpful:

  • If your hair is long, cutting it shorter may help decrease the impact of your hair loss when it occurs.
  • Some people find it easier to deal with hair loss by shaving their heads before hair loss occurs.
  • Be sure to protect your head with a hat to prevent sun exposure on sunny days- and not just in the summer months! This is especially important for men who are less likely to wear a wig or turban/scarf.
  • Use a soft-bristle brush and a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo.
  • Donât use hair dryers, hot rollers, or curling irons because they may damage your hair and make hair loss more severe.
  • Donât bleach or color your hair, and donât get a permanent. All of these make your hair brittle and may cause your hair to fall out faster.
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase to decrease friction.

Radiation Therapy Is A One Of The Best Options For Treatment Of Breast Cancer For Multiple Reasons:

  • Its just as good if not better than traditional mastectomy treatment at eliminating cancer and reducing recurrence, but
  • Its much faster and incredibly more convenient when compared to several surgeries
  • its completely safe as the radiation is highly targeted, no other organs or tissue is ever at risk
  • The cosmetic results are tremendous, you dont need new breasts or reconstruction surgery
  • And when detected early has a 95% success rate
At the Innovative Cancer Institute there is no one-treatment-fits all approach to patient care, especially when it comes to Breast Cancer, the most common cancer diagnosed in the US.

Dr. Beatriz Amendola along with our radiation oncology staff will partnerwith you throughout your entire course of treatment and provide the best individualized cancer therapy using the latest treatment techniques. We work directly with your referring doctors and jointly guide you throughout your treatment course.

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What Is It Like To Lose Your Hair With Breast Cancer

Many people diagnosed with breast cancer experience hair loss as a side effect of their cancer treatments. This change can cause a range of difficult emotions.

Some people experience anxiety surrounding hair loss. As one MyBCTeam member asked, What did any of you do before learning that you would lose your hair? It is nerve-wracking, and Im a little anxious about the thought.

Another shared, I had the best hair in the family by far and also had gone into the hairdressing field it seemed a big slap of humility for me to be the one struggling with hair loss.

Others find hair loss to be an incredibly challenging aspect of breast cancer. Hair loss was the scariest thing for me, wrote one member, and its very traumatic, but once you lose your hair and either wear a wig or just go bald, once you embrace it, its so much easier. Many prayers, because this part is hard!

Another shared, I agree that the hair loss was the hardest for me as well. I cried for three days watching it fall out in clumps and having to clear the drain every morning before I went to work.

Some individuals struggle to deal with the trauma they felt at losing their hair months or even years after the fact. One member spoke about her hair loss even after her treatment was over and her hair had grown back: I was, and still am, devastated by the hair loss.

Preparing For Scalp Cooling

" There is no easy way of saying this ... YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER ...

Whether you use cold caps or a scalp cooling system, its important to make sure the cap fits correctly to increase the chance it will be effective. Carefully follow the manufacturers instructions on how to fit the cap on your head, and practice before your first treatment.

Both scalp cooling methods get very cold, so some people get headaches while wearing the caps. Other possible side effects include:

  • neck and shoulder discomfort
  • dizziness
  • nausea

Most people get very cold during scalp cooling, so you should dress warmly and bring warm blankets with you, or ask the cancer treatment center if they have blankets you can use. People tend to feel colder wearing cold caps than they do using scalp cooling systems. Its common for people to feel the most discomfort during the first 10 minutes of treatment and then feel less discomfort as they adjust to the cold.

When using cold caps or a scalp cooling system throughout chemotherapy treatment, its smart to be extra gentle with your hair to prevent damage and help maintain hair quality. Its recommended that you:

  • use a gentle shampoo

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Why Will I Lose My Hair During Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, attack fast-growing cancer cells. These treatments can also affect normal cells that grow fast, such as hair cells.

Chemotherapy can cause hair loss on your scalp, pubic area, arms, legs, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Radiation therapy to your head often causes hair loss on your scalp. Sometimes, depending on the dose of radiation to your head, your hair may grow back differently from how it looked before, or it may not grow back at all.

We Protect The Rights Of Patients

Drug companies have a duty to ensure their products are safe and when they fail that duty, patients who suffered injuries have rights. Many patients are exercising their rights and seeking justice through the courts. These patients are filing lawsuits against the maker of Taxotere, alleging that if they had known of the risks of the drug, they would not have been treated with it. These patients say they were denied the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding their medical care.

If you are a patient who suffered baldness, permanent hair loss or alopecia after receiving Taxotere treatments, contact us today. Patients who are eligible to seek compensation may be able to receive significant damages for:

  • Their mental anguish and suffering
  • Permanent disfigurement

To many, hair loss is one of the more dreaded side effects of chemotherapy for cancer. An estimated 65% of patients undergoing classic chemotherapy experience what doctors call alopecia. But while some chemotherapy medications almost always result in such hair loss, others typically cause minimal hair loss.

Other factors related to chemo can affect hair loss as well, such as the dose of the drug given. Of course, effectively treating your cancer is the top priority. But knowing about this potential in advance can help you prepare for it. Fortunately, there are options available to help people cope with this symptom.

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Will I Lose My Hair With Breast Cancer Treatment

If youre about to begin breast cancer treatment, you may be wondering about the possibility of losing your hair. Hair loss can be difficult to predict, even among patients who receive the same therapy. For the most accurate information on what to expect in your unique situation, you are encouraged to talk with your treatment team.

In general, if you receive certain chemotherapy medications, you may lose some or all of the hair on your head. Thats because the chemo medications may damage some of your hair follicles as they work to destroy your breast cancer. Most likely, if you lose your hair, it will gradually fall out in clumps as you brush or shampoo it. Depending on the specific medications you receive, you may also temporarily lose your eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as the hair on your arms, legs and pubic area.

âJust remember that most side effects from chemotherapy such as hair loss are just temporary while you undergo treatment, and hair will grow back at its normal rate after you finish treatment.â

Talking With Your Health Care Team About Hair Loss

Scalp Cooling Helps Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

Prepare for your visit by making a list of questions to ask. Consider adding these questions to your list:

  • Is treatment likely to cause my hair to fall out?
  • How should I protect and care for my head? Are there products that you recommend? Ones I should avoid?
  • Where can I get a wig or hairpiece?
  • What support groups could I meet with that might help?
  • When will my hair grow back?

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Ways To Care For Your Hair When It Grows Back

  • Be gentle. When your hair starts to grow back, you will want to be gentle with it. Avoid too much brushing, curling, and blow-drying. You may not want to wash your hair as frequently.
  • After chemotherapy. Hair often grows back in 2 to 3 months after treatment has ended. Your hair will be very fine when it starts to grow back. Sometimes your new hair can be curlier or straighteror even a different color. In time, it may go back to how it was before treatment.
  • After radiation therapy. Hair often grows back in 3 to 6 months after treatment has ended. If you received a very high dose of radiation your hair may grow back thinner or not at all on the part of your body that received radiation.

How To Prepare For Hair Loss

  • Each person is different. Ask your health care team if hair loss is likely to happen. If it is, ask if it will happen quickly or gradually.
  • If you are going to get chemotherapy that might cause hair loss, talk to your health care team about whether a cooling cap might help reduce your risk. More research is being done to understand how effective and safe cooling caps may be. There are some side effects of cooling caps to consider, such as headaches, scalp pain, and neck and shoulder discomfort. Talk to your health care team about the benefits, limitations, and side effects of cooling caps.
  • If the thought of losing your hair bothers you, you might choose to cut your hair very short or even shave your head before it starts falling out.
  • If you think you might want a wig, buy it before treatment begins or at the very start of treatment. Ask if the wig can be adjusted you might need a smaller wig as you lose hair. To match hair color, you can cut a swatch of hair from the top front of your head, where hair is lightest..
  • Wigs and other scalp coverings may be partially or fully covered by your health insurance. If so, ask for a prescription for a cranial prosthesis. Do not use the word wig on the prescription.
  • Get a list of wig shops in your area from your cancer team, other patients, or from the phone book. You can also order the American Cancer Societys tlc Tender Loving Care® catalog by visiting tlc or by calling 1-800-850-9445.

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Studies Of Hair Loss Or Thinning With Femara

Studies conducted by the manufacturer of Femara were evaluated to assess hair loss compared with other breast cancer treatments.

Femara vs. tamoxifen

  • In a large study of women with early breast cancer using either Femara or tamoxifen , the median treatment time was 60 months and the median time women were followed for side effects was 96 months.
  • Hair loss or thinning was reported in 3.4% of women taking either Femara or tamoxifen. However, no cases were rated as serious .

Femara vs. anastrozole

  • When Femara was compared to anastrozole , another aromatase inhibitor, hair loss or thinning was reported in 6.2% of women taking Femara compared to 6.5% of women taking anastrozole.
  • The median duration of treatment was 60 months for both treatment arms. Most reactions were reported as mild to moderate, with only 0.1% of women taking Femara having hair loss that was graded as serious .

Aromatase inhibitors in general

  • A survey-based, retrospective research study was conducted in 851 female breast cancer survivors who had taken aromatase inhibitors . Women were asked about their hair thinning or hair loss, health habits, use of AIs, and demographic data such as age.
  • The results showed that 22.4% of the breast cancer survivors reported hair loss and 31.8 % reported hair thinning. Use of an AI at the time of the survey and prior use were significantly associated with hair thinning, but not hair loss.
  • These results were found to be independent of use of chemotherapy and age .

Can Breast Cancer Treatment Cause Permanent Hair Loss

How Soon After Chemotherapy Hair Loss : Hair Regrowth After Cancer And ...

Hair loss caused by chemotherapy is almost always temporary so hair will usually start to grow back once your treatment is over. Some people find that it starts to grow back before they have completed all their chemotherapy.

There is some evidence that chemotherapy may result in prolonged or permanent hair loss, particularly with taxane drugs . Permanent hair loss is described as incomplete regrowth of hair six months or more after completing treatment.

At the moment there is no definite evidence to say how often this happens, which may mean that this possible side effect is not included in written information given to patients undergoing chemotherapy.

As hair loss is common in both people with cancer and in the general population, its often difficult to be sure whether problems with hair regrowth are due to treatment, genetics or other factors such as extreme stress or medical conditions, or a combination of these things.

After radiotherapy, any hair that you lost from the treated area will usually grow back. You may find that the regrowth is patchy and it can take several months to grow back completely. Its also possible that the hair may not grow back at all. This will depend on the dose of radiotherapy and the number of treatments youve had.

Once you have finished taking hormone therapy, your hair should return to how it was before treatment. However, this may take some time and for some may not fully return to the same thickness.

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Bone Thinning Bone And Joint Pain

A group of estrogen-blocking breast cancer drugs called aromatase inhibitors may turn your bones more brittle. That may cause bone and joint pain.

Certain types of chemotherapy can also cause bone thinning. If you arent already in menopause, it may start prematurely.

Breast cancer itself can cause pain if it spreads to your bones. A specialized radiation treatment called radiotherapy can sometimes help. Ask your doctor about other treatment options like pain medications.

Permanent And Irreversible Hair Loss

Anyone who has been through chemotherapy knows that there is a risk of hair loss while undergoing treatment, but typically the hair starts to regrow not long after treatment is completed. Unfortunately, many women treated with Taxotere were left with a condition called alopecia.

Alopecia is the complete, irreversible and permanent loss of hair from anywhere on the body where hair normally grows. Many women who experienced this adverse event with Taxotere did not regrow any of their hair, while other women grew thin strands that fell out again for seemingly no reason. For most, being left with permanent hair loss makes them continue to feel and look like a victim of cancer, not someone who has battled cancer and won.

Not all patients who are treated with Taxotere develop alopecia, but if you did, you might notice hair regrowth on some areas of the head, while other areas remain bald. In fact, researchers found that of the 189 patients studied with early breast cancer, over 15 percent developed permanent baldness and hair loss.

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Coping With Other Peoples Reactions To Hair Loss

You may feel that losing your hair means that you will need to tell people about your diagnosis when you would prefer not to, however, its up to you who you tell. Some people tell just their family and close friends, while others are happy to let everyone know.

People will respond to you losing your hair in different ways, and you may find some reactions difficult to understand.

A change in appearance may make you feel less confident about socialising with friends and family. However, withdrawing from your social life may make you feel more isolated or that your diagnosis is preventing you from doing the things you enjoy. Many people find continuing to meet up with others is a useful distraction and helps to keep some normality.

You may feel anxious about other peoples reactions at first, but these feelings should gradually improve over time. It might help to talk to others who have experienced hair loss.

If you have children, whatever their age, you may wonder what to tell them about your breast cancer. Your children may find it upsetting to see you without any hair and it might help if you prepare them for the fact that this may happen. Studies have shown that children are less anxious if they know whats happening, and that it can be less frightening for them to know what is going on even if they dont fully understand. Read our tips about talking to children about breast cancer.

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