Radiation Treatment And Hair Loss
Radiation therapy uses a high-energy beam to damage quickly growing cells in your body. The goal is to target cancer cells, but some normal cells get damaged as well.
Radiation only causes hair loss on the particular part of the body treated. If radiation is used to treat the breast, there is no hair loss on your head. But there might be loss of hair around the nipple, if you have hair there.
Radiation to the brain, used to treat breast cancer that has spread to the brain, can cause hair loss on your head. Depending on the dose of radiation, your hair may be patchier when it grows back or it may not grow back.
Why Would You Take Anastrozole
Anastrozole is primarily used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. However, it is sometimes used off-label in men. For men, the most common reason for taking anastrozole is an excess of estrogen in the body.
Excessive estrogen in men can happen for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for high estrogen is aging. As you get older, your levels of testosterone begin to drop and the levels of estrogen begin to rise which can lead to unwanted symptoms. Some other causes for rising estrogen levels are stress, weight gain, and testosterone replacement therapy.
Serious Side Effects Of Arimidex
Arimidex may cause serious side effects. But they didnt vary based on which type of breast cancer the drug is being used to treat. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of Arimidex. For more information, you can refer to the medications prescribing information.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Arimidex, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think youre having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:
- Decreased bone density , which usually doesnt cause symptoms.
- Skin reactions. Symptoms can include:
*For more information on this side effect, see Side effect specifics below.
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Low Mood And Depression
Many people feel low or depressed. It can be difficult to know whether this is because of the medication or other reasons such as menopausal symptoms or dealing with the diagnosis of cancer.
Talk to your GP or treatment team about how to manage a change in mood. Some people find counselling or mindfulness helpful. Others find exercise improves their mood. Your GP or specialist can refer you for counselling or may suggest you take an antidepressant drug.
Your breast care nurse may also be able to offer support or tell you about support services in your area.
Is Anastrozole An Injection
When it comes to hormone replacement therapy almost every medication in the lineup is an injection. Luckily with anastrozole, you can save yourself a couple of needle sticks since it is a pill. Anastrozole comes in both pills and capsules. Your healthcare provider will prescribe you the appropriate form of medication for your specific situation.
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Anastrozole And Side Effectshair Loss/thinning And Hair Regrowth
I started taking anastrozole in May 2018. The worst side effect I had was hot flashes, but I was undergoing radiation and it was a particularly hot summer here. My Dr took me off it for two weeks and I restarted it in September. I have had very few problems. The first time I had BC, I took tamoxifen and I think that bothered me more. I was anticipating problems this time. The hot flashes are goneI never had them before in my life! I have random aches and pains. One joint in my foot seems to be tender, but it is something I can easily live with. One thing I did notice was the hair thinning. I had it with the tamoxifen and now with this. It really bothered me, but has anyone else had their hair start to grow back? I had searched the internet for a natural substance to help hair growth and found castor oil. Needless to say, I was skeptical. I put it on a cotton ball and dab it lightly on the areas by my temples and my natural hair part and my hairline by my forehead. It is an easy fix if it is a fix. Recently I have noticed new hair growth in the temple areas and in my hair part. It is about an inch + long. It is not as if my hair has suddenly thickened up a lot, but there is a difference. I am not sure if I am just getting used to the medicine or if the castor oil has any effect, but there is a difference. For me, there is an improvement, so I just wanted to let you know that there may be hope for improvement for other people.
Is Hair Loss A Side Effect Arimidex
Hair loss wasnt reported as a side effect of Arimidex in clinical studies. But in very rare cases, a few people taking the medication reported hair thinning.
If youre concerned about hair loss or thinning while taking Arimidex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend a treatment. Or your doctor may suggest a medication other than Arimidex.
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Tell Us Your Cancer Hair
We all know about hair loss related to some cancer chemotherapy drugs. Called alopecia, it is often the most dreaded side effect of these potentially life-saving medications. Over the past 10 or 15 years, there has been huge progress in anti-nausea drugs, and many people complete months of chemo without ever vomiting. This has been a major advance in cancer care I remember all too well when we handed small basins to people as they left the infusion area. We knew some would not even get to their cars before the vomiting began.
You may have heard about cold caps, a system of wearing tight frozen caps before, during and after a chemo infusion to reduce or even prevent hair loss. This system has been fairly successful with some drugs, specifically with the Taxanes, but it does not help with many others. It is also not covered by insurance and can cost hundreds of dollars per treatment.
Chemo drugs are the main cause of hair loss, but hormonal treatments used to treat ER positive breast cancers may also result in thinning hair. This has been debated as women generally have thinner hair after menopause, but the view seems now to acknowledge this potential side effect. It does not affect everyone, and it does not result in total baldness, but it can still be very discouraging and depressing.
Has this been a problem for you? Did anything help? Share your story in the BIDMC Cancer Community.
How Do Arimidexs Side Effects Differ Between Males And Females
Arimidex is not approved for use in males.* The drug hasnt been studied in this group of people.
To learn about side effects that Arimidex may cause in females,* you can refer to the rest of this article. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms male and female in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
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Who Can And Cannot Take Anastrozole
Anastrozole is not suitable for some people. Tell your doctor before starting on this medicine if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to anastrozole or any other medicines in the past
- still have periods
- are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding
- have serious kidney or liver disease
- have been told you have fragile or brittle bones
What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget to take your medicine, just skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the normal time.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one. If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
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Common Questions About Anastrozole
Anastrozole belongs to a group of medicines called aromatase inhibitors.
Aromatase inhibitor medicines are used to treat certain types of breast cancer, where the cancer cells need oestrogen to grow.
After the menopause your ovaries stop producing oestrogen. Instead your body makes oestrogen from an enzyme called aromatase.
Aromatase inhibitors reduce the amount of aromatase in your body and this in turn stops your body producing oestrogen. This helps prevent cancer cells growing, as they no longer have anything to feed on.
Anastrozole helps stop your breast cancer coming back after having treatment for cancer.
Your specialist will be able to explain the benefits and risks of taking anastrozole.
They can also calculate how well anastrozole is likely to work for you. This is done by comparing your details with those of more than 20,000 other people who have had treatment for breast cancer.
The exact benefits and how well itâs likely to work for you depend on a combination of different things.
This varies for each person and includes factors like your age when the breast cancer was found, how it was found and whether youâve had chemotherapy or not.
Anastrozole will immediately start to reduce the amount of oestrogen in your body. However, it takes several weeks or months for the medicine to work fully.
Most people who take anastrozole will have had surgery, radiotherapy or sometimes chemotherapy to treat their breast cancer first.
Alcohol Use And Arimidex
There are no known interactions between alcohol and Arimidex.
But some of the side effects caused by Arimidex may also be caused by drinking alcohol. For example, both can cause headaches, nausea, or vomiting. So drinking alcohol while taking Arimidex may increase your risk of these side effects.
In addition, Arimidex may affect your liver. Because alcohol can also affect your liver, drinking alcohol and taking Arimidex may further increase your risk of liver problems.
If youre taking Arimidex, talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to drink.
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Questions To Ask The Health Care Team
You may want to ask your cancer care team the following questions.
Is my specific cancer treatment plan likely to cause hair loss?
If so, when will my hair loss happen? Will I lose hair over time or all at once?
How should I care for my hair and scalp during hair loss?
When will my hair grow back? What can I expect when my hair does return?
Is there a counselor, oncology social worker, or other team member who can help me cope with hair loss?
Are there any programs that provide free or low-cost wigs or other head coverings?
Caring For Hair That Grows Back
When your hair begins to grow back, it will be much thinner and more easily damaged than your original hair. It may also be a different texture or color. The following tips may help you take care of the hair that grows back.
Limit washing your hair to twice a week.
Massage your scalp gently to remove dry skin and flakes.
Use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush for your hair. When styling your hair, limit the amount of pinning, curling, or blow-drying with high heat.
Avoid permanent or semi-permanent hair color for at least 3 months after treatment ends.
Avoid curling or straightening your hair with chemical products such as permanent wave solutions until it all grows back. You may need to wait up to a year before you can chemically curl or straighten their hair. Before trying chemical products again, test a small patch of hair to see how it reacts. You can also ask your hairdresser for suggestions.
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More Common Side Effects Of Arimidex
Arimidex can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Arimidex in clinical studies. These side effects can vary depending on which condition the drug is being used to treat.
More common side effects in people taking Arimidex for early breast cancer include:
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Arimidex and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.
*For more information on this side effect, see Side effect specifics below.
Hair Thinning/loss From Hormone Therapy Drug Letrozole
I have been on Letrozole for nearly a month and my hair is changing and thinning badly, which I find distressing. The worst thing is that I could be on this drug for 5-10 yrs . Was trying to mentally prepare for the chemotherapy and the side effects and thinking , look on bright side , after the chemotherapy my hair will grow back.
Has anybody got experience of the side effect of this drug and advice.
I was put on the hormone drug Zoladex for my prostate cancer and had more side effects from this than I ever did from the radiotherapy. Hot flushes being the most common. I used to have a contest with my wife and I was way in front both for the amount and for the severity. I also suffered mood swings where if I heard bad or even good news, I would end up with tears running down my face and I had no control over it which I found very embarassing. I also put on weight which I have not managed to lose even though I finnised treatment about four years ago.
So I do understand what your going through. Wishing you all the best, Brian.
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Managing Ongoing Hair Thinning
Breast cancer treatments such as hormonal therapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy can cause some people to have ongoing mild to moderate hair loss. If youre concerned that your hair isnt growing back or is noticeably thinner than in the past, its a good idea to see a dermatologist. If possible, seek out one who specializes in hair loss or an onco-dermatologist who focuses on problems with the hair, skin, and nails that can develop during cancer treatment. The dermatologist will order blood tests to check whether there are other reasons for your hair loss besides the effects of breast cancer treatments. Thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, and other factors can play a role in hair loss.
For mild to moderate hair loss, dermatologists often recommend Rogaine , an over-the-counter medication that promotes hair growth. Its safe for people with a history of breast cancer and moderately effective. But check with your oncologist before you start using minoxidil. In most cases, you can use it while you take hormonal therapy or targeted therapy, but not during chemotherapy treatment. Look for products labeled 5% minoxidil foam that you apply to your scalp when your hair and scalp are dry. Its ok for women to use minoxidil products labeled for men. Minoxidil is thought to stimulate hair growth by, among other things, improving blood flow in the scalp and prolonging the growth phase of each hair follicle.
Anastrozole Has Ruined My Hair
Hello, I don’t normally get involved in chats, etc, but I have looked at how everyone seeems to be helping one another on here so thought I’d chip in. I was diagnosed with stage 2 oestrogen positive breast cancer in Sept 18. I had two lumpectomies and the lymph nodes removed on one side. Followed by chemo and radiotherapy. My dexa scan showed a little thinning of the bones so so far so good. Anastrozole symptoms are awful including the seizing up of my thumb on the left hand, and various other fingers to a greater or lesser extent on both Sometimes I can’t straighten them and the pain is awful. Against all this, the thing that is upsetting me most is my hair. It was thick and curly before. It has taken a year for it to grow enough for me to go without a wig. It’s thin and fine and is mostly grey with some black. . I have bald patches on either side above the temples and on the crown . I’m sorry if that sounds vain but having been through so much, I just would like to at least go back to having nice hair again. I feel I have the hair of an 80 year old and I’m early fifties. Has anyone else been through this? Any advice? It’s the one thing that is making me consider coming off the tablets. I don’t think I can look like this for another 4-9 years. Thanks, everyone.
Good luck and keep well. X
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Should I Expect Liver Problems Such As Liver Toxicity With Arimidex
Liver problems werent reported in clinical studies of Arimidex. But rare cases have been reported since the medication was approved. Because these cases happened outside of the studies, its not known for certain if Arimidex another factor caused the liver problems. Other factors could include a different medication.
The majority of people who reported liver problems with Arimidex didnt experience any symptoms. In most cases, the only change noted is a slight increase in liver enzymes. However, in very rare instances, more severe problems such as hepatitis can occur.
Symptoms of severe liver problems can include:
- a general feeling of being unwell
- pain in the upper right abdomen
Liver toxicity refers to injury to your liver due to a medication. A breast cancer drug called Soltamox , which is similar to Arimidex, has been known to cause liver toxicity in some cases .
If you develop symptoms of liver problems while taking Arimidex, talk with your doctor. Theyll likely have you stop taking the medication and suggest other treatments for your condition.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Arimidex may cause.