Be Patient And Kind To Yourself
Receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing chemotherapy are perhaps some of the most difficult challenges one faces during their lifetime. Hair loss due to chemotherapy can add more difficulty to an already extremely difficult situation, so for this reason, its important to show yourself care, compassion and acceptance before, during and after chemotherapy.
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.
Do All Chemo Patients Experience Hair Loss
The degree at which you may experience hair loss depends on a number of factors :
- The dosage of the medication.
- Frequency at which chemotherapy is given.
- Intravenous drugs are more likely to result in hair loss.
- Certain medicines used in combination can result in alopecia.
- Genes or your individual genetic makeup – some patients are not as prone to losing hair while others may experience major hair loss.
What Else Contributes To Hair Loss
There are a number of non-cancer related medications that are associated with hair loss that might accentuate the effects of chemotherapy drugs if used in combination.
Some of these include retinoids , anti-thyroid medications, L-Dopa , amphetamines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and several antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants and Wellbutrin .
In addition to medications, illness, surgery, or dietary changes may lead to hair loss.
Thyroid disease may cause hair loss and may occur with cancer treatment .
On The Hunt For New Drug Targets
Very little is known about how chemotherapy drugs cause CIA. Most information stems from studies using mouse models.
Here, research has shown that programmed cell suicide, or apoptosis, is the most likely cause of cell death in the hair follicle, causing the hair to fall out.
Researchers in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, IL, used genome-wide association studies to compare the genetic signature of breast cancer patients who had experienced CIA with that of those who had not.
They found several candidate genes that might be implicated in the loss of functional hair follicles. One of these, CACNB4, is part of a calcium channel that plays an important role in cell growth and apoptosis. Another gene, BCL9, was active in a subset of CIA patients and is known to play a role in hair follicle development.
Armed with this knowledge, scientists are continuing their quest to develop effective inhibitors of chemotherapy-induced hair loss, hoping to reduce the burden that this unwanted side effect has on cancer patients.
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Why Does Chemo Make You Tired
Fatigue, like nausea, can be caused by a variety of factors.
As chemotherapy kills off cancer cells, other process in the body get disrupted, causing tiredness, Dr Schneider said.
âDrugs that combat other chemo side effects can cause drowsiness,â she said.
âThe body is also dealing with the cancer itself, and this can cause fatigue.â
Anxiety can also be big energy drain. The stress of diagnosis and treatment can wear people out and lead to disrupted sleep.
âIf they can, getting some physical activity can actually help with that fatigue,â Dr Schneider said.
Feeling fatigued may last longer than the chemo treatment itself.
Itâs important for friends, family and colleagues not to expect them to fire on all cylinders as soon has chemotherapy as stopped, Dr Kirsten said, instead, give them time to recover from the treatment.
âWhen someoneâs no longer able to participate in their usual roles that can also impact on their sense of self and self-worth,â she said.
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What Are Common Side Effects Of Chemo And Radiation
Chemo and radiation cause similar side effects. Chemos side effects depend on the type of drug used, the dosage, and a childs overall health. These effects are more likely to affect the whole body.
Radiations side effects, on the other hand, tend to affect the area being treated. But they do still depend on the dose of radiation given, the location on the body, and whether the radiation was internal or external.
Here are some of the side effects associated with these cancer treatments, and how to manage them:
Tiredness is the most common side effect of both chemotherapy and radiation. Even the most active kids are likely to find themselves exhausted and perhaps even a little foggy-headed during treatment and possibly for a while afterward. This is normal. Encourage your child to scale back on activities and to rest as much as possible. When treatment is over, your childs energy should return.
Some cancer medicines appear to trigger the bodys normal inflammatory response, producing flu- or cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, chills, and cough. Drinking plenty of fluids can help clear excess mucus. Also ask your doctor which, if any, over-the-counter medicines might help.
Mouth, Gum, and Throat Sores
If your childs appetite wanes, try offering several small servings of something rather than three large meals. Also concentrate on keeping your child hydrated with water, juices, and broths.
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Cold Caps During Chemotherapy
A cold cap is a hat that is worn during some chemotherapy treatments. Its cooling effect reduces blood flow to the scalp, which also reduces the amount of chemotherapy medication that reaches this area. This helps to prevent hair loss.
It’s usually worn for 15 minutes before each chemotherapy treatment. You can find out about scalp cooling caps on the Macmillan website.
Symptoms Causes & Treatment Of Scalp Infections
Scalp cleanliness is very important as it relates to the growth of hair. How healthy does it grow? Many small children and infants face problems of scalp infection. The scalp can be infected due to fungus or bacteria that enter the scalp from hair follicles or if the skin is damaged.
Eczema and psoriasis are the best examples of infection on the scalp of your head. This is the most common type of skin condition that causes flaky skin. There are many causes for scalp infection caused by bacteria and fungal infection on the scalp. The symptoms of scalp infection differ from person to person and can be treated by ointments, medicated shampoos, and creams. The symptoms may include redness, itching, and cradle cap in infants.
Scalp infection if untreated can further cause hair loss or many kinds of skin infection on the scalp. But there are many more causes of scalp infection and hair loss which can be genetic or due to diet.
Types of scalp conditions and skin conditions of the scalp that cause infection:
Skin condition is also affected by many other health issues that consist of:
- Some skin conditions are caused by lice which is a small insect that occurs on hair and scalp causing itchiness to the scalp.
- Sensitive scalp occurs due to damage to arteries that supply blood to the head.
- The accident causes head injuries or fractures in the head.
Causes of scalp conditions are autoimmune diseases, genetics, hormonal changes or disorders, etc.
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How To Track Your Lupus Disease Activity
It’s important to keep track of your lupus symptoms and disease activity. You can do this by keeping a journal or using an online tool like Lupus Activity Tracker . This will help you stay informed about what is going on with your body so that you know when itâs time to see a doctor if your symptoms worsen.
The systemic lupus erythematosus Activity Tracker is an online tool that allows users to track their disease activity and medication usage. It also provides information about lupus treatments, news updates related to the condition as well as resources for patients who have recently been diagnosed with this severe illness.
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.
Is There A Way To Prevent Or Minimize Hair Loss
While there is no way to completely prevent hair loss due to chemotherapy, one tool is becoming more widely used to help minimize hair loss by insulating follicles from the impact of the drugs.
Scalp cooling is a preventative method that can reduce the risk of hair loss caused by chemotherapy, protecting the hair follicles from the circulating cancer treatment, explained Dr. Vorobiof.
It can be done with ice packs, scalp cooling caps or other cooling systems designed to make the follicles constrict, cutting off the blood supply that brings the chemotherapy drugs to the follicles.
Research is being done to better understand how scalp cooling helps prevent hair loss due to chemotherapy, though there are already FDA-approved devices available.
Patients considering scalp cooling should be informed that success rates vary, said Dr. Vorobiof. In addition, there are cost implications as well as some other side effects, such as cold intolerance, headaches and lightheadedness. Its also important to note that patients may be required to spend a prolonged time in the clinic for fitting and cooling before the chemotherapy is administered.”
Current evidence suggests that scalp cooling is most effective for taxane-based chemotherapy regimens compared with anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens.
Where To Buy Hair Loss Medication
The most accessible hair loss treatments are those made with minoxidil. Brands like Rogaine are widely available over the counter at pharmacies and online retailers.
Prescription drugs used to treat hair loss finasteride, spironolactone, and dutasteride are more accessible with subscription-based telehealth platforms like Hims, Keeps, and Roman.
Hims is a telemedicine company that offers treatments for a variety of health conditions, including hair loss for men.
Over-the-counter products, such as minoxidil foams and solutions, are available for anyone to purchase.
If youre interested in prescription-strength products, such as oral finasteride, Hims can connect you with a healthcare professional from your own home.
The cost of Hims varies considerably. A 3-month supply of some of their most popular hair loss products is priced at $195.
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When Will My Hair Grow Back After Chemotherapy
Typically, you wonât see hair regrowth right after chemotherapy. It takes some time for the medicines you have consumed during chemotherapy to completely leave your body. 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure, you may notice new hair strands .
You may even notice that the hair growth rate on your head is faster than the rest of your body. New hair may be slightly different in texture and type as compared to your original hair type. However, this is usually temporary. You may even notice a change in your hair color.
Tips For Possible Complete Hair Loss
- Ask about a wig before you start treatment, so you can match the colour and texture of your real hair.
- If you are feeling adventurous, choose a wig for a whole new look why not try the colour and style you’ve always wanted!
- Think about having your hair gradually cut short before your treatment starts – this might help you get used to seeing yourself with less hair.
- Some people shave their hair off completely to avoid the distress of seeing their hair fall out.
- Wear a hair net at night so you won’t wake up with hair all over your pillow, which can be upsetting.
- Keep your head warm in cooler weather – some people wear a soft hat in bed.
- Rub in oil or moisturiser if your scalp feels dry and itchy, try unperfumed products such as Epaderm, Hydromol or Doublebase.
- Try a moisturising liquid instead of soap if your scalp is dry, for example aqueous cream, Oilatum or Diprobase.
- Protect your scalp by covering your head in the sun – your scalp is particularly sensitive to the sun.
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Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss
The reason chemotherapy can cause hair loss is that it targets all rapidly dividing cells healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin from which hair grows, include some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. If you’re not in cancer treatment, cells in your hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as chemotherapy does its work against cancer cells, it also damages hair follicle cells. Within a few weeks of starting certain chemotherapy medicines, you may lose some or all of your hair. The hair loss can happen gradually or fairly quickly.
Who Experiences Hair Loss
Not every person will lose his or her hair during cancer care. In fact, two patients taking the same medication may experience different hair-loss side effects. One patient may lose hair, while another doesnt. If alopecia does occur, the extent of hair loss varies widely depending on the type, dosage, frequency and method of treatment, as well as other individual factors.
In some cases, the hair may fall out, but become thin, dull and dry. When hair loss occurs, hair may fall out gradually, quickly, in clumps or entirely. The scalp may also feel tender or itchy beforehand.
Most hair loss is temporary, and hair will grow back after cancer treatment ends. Hair generally grows back within three months after chemotherapy ends and three to six months after radiation ends. Sometimes hair re-growth begins even before therapy is complete. Its common for hair to grow back a slightly different color and texture at first.
Baldness drug treatments, such as minoxidil, are not proven to be consistently effective to reduce or prevent hair loss caused by cancer treatment. In some cases, cooling caps, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for some patients, may help to protect hair cells from chemotherapy drugs. Cooling caps are designed to work by constricting cells, making it more difficult for the drugs to penetrate, and by reducing cellular activity in the hair follicles, making them a less likely target for chemotherapy drugs.
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