About Hair Loss Or Hair Thinning
Hair loss is one of the most well known side effects of cancer treatment. For many people losing their hair can be distressing and devastating.
It can be a constant reminder of your cancer and what youre going through. But for most people, their hair will grow back once treatment has finished.
Cancer drugs can cause:
- mild thinning of your hair
- partial hair loss, or loss of patches of hair
- complete hair loss
Chemotherapy is the type of cancer drug treatment most likely to cause hair loss.
Complete hair loss is very unlikely with any other type of treatment. But some other cancer drugs can cause hair thinning. It is not possible to tell beforehand who will be affected or how badly.
Hair loss also depends on factors such as:
- the type of drug or combination of drugs you are taking
- the dose
- the route
- how sensitive you are to the drug
- your drug treatment in the past
Caring For Your Hair And Head
Here are some ways you can care for your hair and head while youre experiencing hair loss:
- Wash and condition your hair every 2 to 4 days. Use baby shampoo or other mild shampoo . You should also use a cream rinse or hair conditioner.
- Use shampoos and conditioners that have sunscreen to prevent sun damage to your scalp.
- Always rinse your hair well and pat it dry with a soft towel.
- Wash your hair after swimming in a pool.
- Dont expose your scalp to the sun.
- Keep your head covered in the summer.
- In the winter, cover your head with a hat, scarf, turban, or wig to keep it warm. This can also help to catch falling hair.
- Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase. These are smoother than other fabrics and can decrease hair tangles.
- Brush or comb your hair gently with a soft-bristle brush or comb. Start brushing or combing your hair at the ends and gently work your way up to your scalp. You can also comb through your hair with your fingers. Wet your fingers with water first.
- If your hair is long, you may want to have it cut short before you begin treatment.
- Tell your hairdresser that youre receiving chemotherapy. They may be able to recommend gentle hair products.
- Try using Bumble and bumble Hair Powder to cover bald spots and thinning areas of your hair. You can buy it at Sephora® or online from various beauty supply websites.
Dont use the following on your hair during treatment because they can be too harsh or pull on your hair:
Is Hair Loss From Radiation Permanent
Does hair grow back after radiation therapy? Hair loss caused by this treatment is usually temporary, especially in low doses of radiation, although it must be taken into account that the reaction in each patient is different. However, sometimes hair loss is permanent after radiation therapy: this is common especially when patient has to undergo multiple sessions and gets high doses of radiation, which ends up damaging hair follicles until they die, so they can no longer generate new hair.
But, why does radiation therapy cause hair loss? We mentioned before that healthy cells are more resistant to ionising radiation however, they can also become affected, especially in tissues that have a high reproduction rate such as nails or hair, as studies have shown. In the case of hair, radiation can cause it to become weak or thin, and in some cases a complete hair loss.
Hair on scalp is most affected when radiation is applied directly to treat tumours in head or neck, resulting in what is called radiation-induced alopecia. In these cases, the irradiated area presents a loss of hair in the form of patches, with an appearance similar to that of alopecia areata. Hair loss may also appear on the opposite side where radiation exits, although in a milder way.
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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. What’s 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.
- Don’t use hair dryers, hot rollers, or curling irons because they may damage your hair and make hair loss more severe.
- Don’t bleach or color your hair, and don’t 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.
If Youre Having Radiation Therapy To The Pelvis
Radiation therapy to the pelvis can cause side effects such as:
- Bladder problems
- Fertility problems
- Changes in your sex life
You might also have some of the same problems people get from radiation to the abdomen, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Radiation to the pelvis can cause problems with urination, including:
- Pain or burning sensations
- Blood in the urine
- An urge to urinate often
Most of these problems get better over time, but radiation therapy can cause longer-term side effects as well:
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How To Prepare For A Wig
If you think you might want to get a wig, its helpful to take some steps to prepare before you start chemotherapy or another treatment that may cause hair loss. For example:
- Find or take a couple of pictures of your preferred hairstyle. This will make it easier to find a wig thats closest to your color, length, and style if you decide thats what you want.
- Cut your hair short. It’s less traumatic to lose short clumps of hair than long ones, and it’s easier to fit a wig over less hair. Also, if you get used to short hair, you wont have to wait as long while your hair is growing back to feel like yourself.
Consider picking out a wig before you start a treatment that can cause hair loss. Youll have more energy, and you can get used to wearing the wig in trial sessions, alternating with your own hair.
Managing Hair Loss From Chemotherapy
If chemotherapy medicines that will cause hair loss are part of your breast cancer treatment plan, there are steps you can take to prepare, possibly lessen hair loss, and protect your hair as it grows back. Learn more about Managing Hair Loss From Chemotherapy, including tips for hair loss on your head, eyebrows, and eyelashes.
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The Recommended Dose Of Verzenio In Combination With An Ai Is 150 Mg By Mouth Twice A Day Taken Once In The Morning And Once At Night
You will receive 4 individual packs, each one containing your dose of 150-mg tablets for 7 days. Each of these packs includes 14 individual 150-mg tablets.
- Multiple tablet strengths allow your doctor to make dose adjustments based on your tolerance
- If you need to reduce your dose due to tolerability, Verzenio is approved to be dosed as low as 50 mg twice daily, as directed by your doctor
- No matter what dose you are prescribed, you will take 1 tablet, 2 times a day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise
How Fertility Might Be Affected
For women: Talk to your cancer care team about how radiation might affect your fertility . Its best to do this before starting treatment so you are aware of possible risks to your fertility.
Depending on the radiation dose, women getting radiation therapy in the pelvic area sometimes stop having menstrual periods and have other symptoms of menopause. Report these symptoms to your cancer care and ask them how to relieve these side effects.Sometimes menstrual periods will return when radiation therapy is over, but sometimes they do not.
See Fertility and Women With Cancer to learn more.
For men: Radiation therapy to an area that includes the testicles can reduce both the number of sperm and their ability to function. If you want to father a child in the future and are concerned about reduced fertility, talk to your cancer care team before starting treatment. One option may be to bank your sperm ahead of time.
See Fertility and Men With Cancer to learn more.
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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.
How Much Dht Causes Hair Loss
As stated previously, testosterone converts to DHT. So you may be thinking, if I increase my testosterone, wont my DHT levels increase? The answer is yes. The next question is: If DHT is related to hair loss, then wont increased DHT cause increased hair loss? Luckily some researchers answered this exact question. In this study, researchers compared levels of DHT in individuals with hair loss and compared them with people without hair loss. They found that DHT levels were similar in both groups. The researchers concluded that, increased serum concentrations of DHT were not correlated with the advance of alopecia. They went on to say, Based on the results of our study and others, the most important factors would appear to be the genetically-determined sensitivity of the follicles to DHT and their different reactions to androgen concentration.
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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.
Hair Loss And Your Job
There tends to be a lot less stigma with being open about a cancer diagnosis in the workplace than there was even a generation ago. If youre planning to continue working or to job hunt during treatment, youre likely to find that many colleagues are understanding about what youre going through.
Still, its up to you to decide how comfortable you feel telling your colleagues or others you interact with in your job about your diagnosis and treatment. If youve lost your hair and you want to maintain your privacy at work, you might choose to wear a wig that looks as close as possible to your natural hair and to otherwise conceal your hair loss . If youre not as concerned about privacy, you might wear a scarf or choose not to hide your hair loss.
How you decide to handle hair loss at work might also depend on your job role and industry. For instance, if you work in a field in which your appearance is front and center more, you might decide that concealing your hair loss on the days you go into work helps you feel more confident.
For more info about navigating your work life during breast cancer treatment, including what to do if you think youve experienced discrimination, see Breast Cancer and Your Job.
Written by: Jen Uscher, contributing writer
This page was developed with contributions from the following experts:
Nik Georgopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor in cell biology, Paxman Scalp Cooling Research Centre, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, UK
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Targeted Therapy For Her2
In about 1 in 5 women with breast cancer, the cancer cells have too much of a growth-promoting protein known as HER2 on their surface. These cancers, known as HER2-positive breastcancers, tend to grow and spread more aggressively. Different types of drugs have been developed that target the HER2 protein.
Hair Loss And Cancer Treatment
If treatment will cause hair loss, try wearing fun scarves and earringsor a cap, from time to time.
Some types of chemotherapy cause the hair on your head and other parts of your body to fall out. Radiation therapy can also cause hair loss on the part of the body that is being treated. Hair loss is called alopecia. Talk with your health care team to learn if the cancer treatment you will be receiving causes hair loss. Your doctor or nurse will share strategies that have help others, including those listed below.
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Radiation Therapy And Risk Of A Second Cancer
In rare cases, radiation therapy to the breast can cause a second cancer.
The most common cancers linked to radiation therapy are sarcomas . For women who are long-term smokers, radiation therapy may also increase the risk of lung cancer .
The risk of a second cancer is small. If your radiation oncologist recommends radiation therapy, the benefits of radiation therapy outweigh this risk.
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