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Does Radiation Treatment Cause Hair Loss

Are There Any Other Precautions Or Warnings For This Medication

Hair Loss In Radiation Therapy – Dr. Afshin Forouzannia

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.

Blood clots: Letrozole may cause an increase in the formation of blood clots in blood vessels, reducing the blood flow to organs or the extremities. In the arms or legs this is experienced as pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in the limb. In the lungs, you may experience difficulty breathing, sharp chest pain, coughing, or coughing up blood. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Bone mineral density: Long-term use of letrozole may decrease the density of bones, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Your doctor will order bone mineral density tests periodically while you are taking letrozole.

Cholesterol: Letrozole may increase cholesterol levels. If you have increased blood cholesterol levels or a history of increased cholesterol, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Premenopausal women: Letrozole should not be taken by women who have not reached menopause , unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

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Does All Radiation Therapy Cause Hair Loss

Radiation therapy will generally cause hair loss to the body part that is being treated. For example, if your arm were treated with radiation, you may lose any hair on your arm, but the hair on your head would not be affected. The degree of hair loss will depend on several factors, including the size of the area being treated and the total dose of radiation being given. Hair loss is greatest within the treatment field, but may also occur in the area where the radiation beam exits the body.

Chemotherapy drugs also can cause hair loss. If you are also receiving chemotherapy, you should discuss whether or not the medications you are receiving may cause hair loss. When hair loss is caused by chemotherapy, it will include all the hair on your body . Learn more about hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

How Long Do Side Effects Last

Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.

Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.

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Is The Hair Loss Permanent

Hair loss caused by radiation therapy may be temporary or permanent. At lower doses, hair loss is often temporary, but at higher doses, hair loss can be permanent. Your provider can discuss whether the hair loss is expected to be temporary or permanent, based on the planned dose of radiation. Each patient’s situation is unique, however, and it is not possible to guarantee regrowth of hair even at lower doses of radiation therapy. Hair loss caused by chemotherapy is often temporary.

When regrowth occurs, there may be changes in texture and color. It is common for hair to grow back curlier than it was however, a change of color is less common.

To Avoid Making Hair Fall Out Faster:

Will Radiation Cause Hair Loss / Does Radiation Therapy ...
  • Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to lessen the pull on hair while combing. Try to stay away from shampoos with lots of chemicals that can dry out your scalp. Avoid shampoos and conditioners with strong fragrances, alcohol or salicylic acid.
  • Using or sleeping in hair curlers can pull on the hair and cause it to fall out quicker.
  • Try to avoid coloring, bleaching or perming your hair at this point–it could weaken it and make it fall out faster.
  • Lower your use of hair dryers, straightening irons and curling irons. Try air-drying your hair.

Also Check: Can You Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

What Is Radiation Recall

Radiation recall is a rash that looks like a severe sunburn. It is rare and happens when certain types of chemotherapy are given during or soon after external-beam radiation therapy.

The rash appears on the part of the body that received radiation. Symptoms may include redness, tenderness, swelling, wet sores, and peeling skin.

Typically, these side effects start within days or weeks of radiation therapy. But they can also appear months or years later. Doctors treat radiation recall with medications called corticosteroids. Rarely, it may be necessary to wait until the skin heals before continuing chemotherapy.

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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Overview Per Treatment Type Of Hair Loss And Hair Changes

Chemotherapy a glace at hair loss and hair changes

In relation to possible hair loss and what to expect, it is important to check your specific type of chemotherapy drug. Its also good to know that we are here to support you help is at hand. From ideas to cover up if you wish, to ways to care for your scalp and new hair growth or with help to look for long terms solutions.

Any hair loss experienced usually grows back once treatment is complete.

We are here to support you with guidance and ideas.

Who Experiences Hair Loss

Hair loss difference (between radiation and chemo)

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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About Hair Loss From Treatment

Some cancer treatments may make your hair fall out completely. This may be from your head and other parts of your body. This is usually temporary. Other treatments can cause permanent hair loss in specific areas of your body. Sometimes you may not lose all your hair, but your hair can become thinner or more likely to break .

There are practical steps you can take to reduce hair loss during treatment, including scalp cooling.

Day Of Your Simulation

You may need to drink 1 glass of water 1 hour before your simulation and on each day of your treatment. This will make your bladder full and will move your small intestine away from the area receiving radiation. Your radiation oncologist or nurse will tell you if you need to do this.

Once you arrive

A member of your radiation therapy team will check you in. You will be asked to state and spell your full name and birth date many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar name may be having care on the same day as you.

You will be greeted by your radiation therapist. They will take a photograph of your face. This picture will be used to identify you throughout your treatment.

Your radiation therapist will then explain the simulation to you. If you havent already signed a consent form, your radiation oncologist will review everything with you, and ask for your signature.

Getting contrast

You may get contrast before your procedure. Contrast makes your small intestine easier to see on the scan. It can also be used to locate the bladder, rectum, and vagina . If you need contrast, you will get it in 1 or more of the following ways:

You may also have a catheter inserted into your rectum to remove air. This will help your radiation therapist see your rectum on the scan.

A temporary marker may also be placed near your anus. This will be removed at the end of your simulation and will not be used again until your treatment begins. This will take about 30 minutes.

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Does Radiation Cause Hair Loss

Yes, radiation therapy causes hair loss. However, it affects only the body part that is being treated with radiation. If your head and scalp are exposed to radiation , it can affect the hair follicles and cause hair loss while the rest of the body may be unaffected. The degree of hair loss depends on the dose and duration of radiation.

While hair loss is the greatest in the treated area, you may also lose hair in areas where the radiation exits your body. Scroll down to the next section to know how radiation therapy may cause hair loss.

What Are Other Possible Early Side Effects From Radiation Therapy

Does Radiation Therapy Always Cause Hair Loss?

Other early side effects you might have usually depend on where you get the radiation.

Eating Problems

Radiation therapy to the head, neck, or parts of the digestive system can make you lose your appetite. But it’s important to keep eating a healthy diet while youâre having treatment to keep your body strong.

  • Try eating five or six small meals spread out through the day instead of three large ones.
  • Try new recipes or foods.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. It will help you eat when you’re hungry rather than waiting for mealtimes and maybe losing your appetite.

Mouth Problems

Before you start radiation to your head or neck, see your dentist for a thorough exam. Radiation can cause problems in your mouth that include:

  • Mouth sores
  • Lack of saliva
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Jaw stiffness

Tell your cancer team about any of these problems so they can help you feel better. To help manage these side effects:

  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods.
  • Don’t smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol.
  • Brush your teeth often with fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush.

Hearing Problems

Radiation therapy to the head can sometimes cause hearing problems. One reason might be that it hardens the wax in your ears. Let your doctor know if you have trouble hearing.

Nausea

Diarrhea

Fertility and Sexual Issues

Women shouldnât try to get pregnant during radiation therapy because it can hurt the baby. It also can stop periods and cause other symptoms of menopause.

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Problems Eating And Drinking

  • reduced sense of taste
  • bad breath

Tell your care team if you have any of these problems. They may recommend painkillers or a special mouthwash that can help. Avoiding spicy, salty or sharp foods can also help.

Mucositis usually gets better a few weeks after treatment finishes, although sometimes a dry mouth can be a long-term problem.

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.

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Will My Hair Fall Out All At Once

Not everyone who has treatment for lymphoma experiences hair loss. If you do, your hair usually begins to fall out within a couple of weeks of starting treatment. It usually starts at the top and sides of your head, above your ears. It might fall out gradually, in clumps, or quite quickly. You might notice hair on your pillow or clothes, in your hairbrush, or in the plug hole of your bath or shower. Speak to your medical team for information about what to expect based on the treatment you are having.

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