Should You Cut Your Hair Before Chemo
Most hairdressers have experience of cutting hair prior to chemotherapy treatment, as it is a common form of cancer treatment. You may prefer to ask your hairdresser to come to your home so that you can have your hair cut in private. Additionally many wig fitting services offer hair cutting as well.
Help With The Cost Of Wigs
You might be eligible to receive a synthetic wig free of charge.
If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, synthetic wigs are available free of charge.
If you live in England, synthetic wigs are available for free on the NHS if you meet certain eligibility criteria. These include:
- your age
- being on a low income
- receiving certain financial support.
You can find out more about wigs and help with the costs on the NHS website. If you dont meet the criteria for a free wig, you might still be able to get a subsidised wig from your hospital. Ask your clinical nurse specialist or another member of your medical team for details.
If you buy a wig privately, you dont need to pay value added tax . This applies to anyone who has lost their hair because of cancer. Ask the company for a VAT exemption form when you buy the wig you cant claim it back at a later date.
You can find out more about wigs, including getting one through your health service or the NHS, on Cancer Research UKs website.
For children and young people up to the age of 24, Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs to those who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or other conditions.
Increased Risk Of Getting An Infection
Increased risk of getting an infection is due to a drop in white blood cells. Symptoms include a change in temperature, aching muscles, headaches, feeling cold and shivery and generally unwell. You might have other symptoms depending on where the infection is.
Infections can sometimes be life threatening. You should contact your advice line urgently if you think you have an infection.
Don’t Miss: How To Know If You Have Hair Loss
Reactivation Of The Hepatitis B Virus
Rituxan has a boxed warning for reactivation of the hepatitis B virus . A boxed warning is a serious warning from the FDA.
If youve had hepatitis B, using Rituxan may cause the virus to become active again. This is because it remains in your body for a long time, even if youve received treatment for hepatitis B.
Reactivation of HBV may cause serious liver damage, liver failure, or, in rare cases, death. HBV reactivation can develop up to 24 months after your last dose of Rituxan.
Symptoms of hepatitis B include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What might help
If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. To manage your symptoms, they may suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl . Or they may recommend a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.
If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Rituxan, theyll decide if you should continue using it.
If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.
If your doctor confirms that you had a serious allergic reaction to Rituxan, they may have you switch to a different treatment.
A Day In The Life: Grace Receives A Rituxan Infusion
Every six months, my 16-year-old daughter, Grace, receives a dose of Rituxan , the latest and greatest treatment we have added to her regimen for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome .
Before that first dose, Grace was exhausted all the time. She was able to do very little outside the house because her energy was so low. She could not walk more than a few steps without assistance. Her voice was weak and shaky.
Grace had responded well to prednisone, but because of the side effects, her doctor wanted her to wean off of it. At that point, her team of doctors thought it most prudent to try Rituxan.
Although Rituxan is prescribed for LEMS, its effectiveness in LEMS patients has not been tested in clinical trials. However, I can attest to its effectiveness in Grace. Rituxan has made an extraordinary difference. Grace has so much more energy than she did before the treatment. Her stamina has increased and her walking is sturdier. Grace struggled with slurred speech, and that has mostly disappeared. She has gotten big pieces of her life back since beginning this treatment.
Recommended Reading: Does Rosemary Stop Hair Loss
Tips To Reduce Your Risk Of Infection
- Try to avoid close contact with people you know have an infection.
- Wash your hands regularly and carry around a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel.
- Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth regularly.
- Stop smoking if youre a smoker.
- Make sure your food is stored and prepared properly.
- Try to keep your house clean and hygienic, especially the kitchen, bathrooms and toilets.
Possible Side Effects Of Rituximab And Hyaluronidase Human Injection
There are a number of things you can do to manage the side effects of rituximab and hyaluronidase human injection. Talk to your care team about these recommendations. They can help you decide what will work best for you. These are some of the most common or important side effects:
Skin & Mouth Reactions
Severe skin and mouth reactions can occur on this medication. Notify your healthcare provider right away if you develop any rash, peeling skin, or painful sores or blisters on your skin, lips, inside of your mouth or genitals.
Hepatitis B Reactivation
This medication can cause Hepatitis B reactivation in patients who have previously had hepatitis. This can occur up to 24 months after receiving this medication. Be sure your healthcare provider is aware of any previous Hepatitis B diagnosis and treatment. You will also be tested for the Hepatitis B virus prior to beginning treatment with this medication. Notify your healthcare provider if you develop yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
PML is a rare but very serious brain infection that has been reported with this medication. The signs of PML may develop over several weeks or months. They may include changes in mood or usual behavior, confusion, thinking problems, loss of memory, changes in vision, speech, or walking, and decreased strength or weakness on one side of the body. If you develop any of these signs, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
You May Like: How To Avoid Hair Loss After Pregnancy
Holistic Support For Hair Health
There are many tools available in a toolkit for holistic hair health, like a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, getting enough sleep and proactively managing stress levels. But while dealing with a cancer diagnosis and undergoing chemotherapy, many of these tools might be out of reach. Know that doing whatever you can to get through this is just what you can and should be doing.
Here are a few tools and tips to consider making use of.
Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Receiving Rituxan
Heres some information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Rituxan.
Pregnancy. Your doctor will likely recommend that you do not receive Rituxan while youre pregnant. The drug may cause harm to a developing fetus. If you can become pregnant, your doctor should order a pregnancy test for you before prescribing the drug. This is to confirm youre not pregnant.
You should use an effective form of birth control during your Rituxan treatment and for at least 12 months after your last dose. If you become pregnant or think youre pregnant during your treatment, talk with your doctor right away.
Breastfeeding. It is not recommended to breastfeed during your Rituxan treatment and for at least 6 months after your last dose. The drug may pass into human breast milk. And it isnt known if Rituxan can cause serious side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk with your doctor about safe feeding options for your child during your Rituxan treatment.
Recommended Reading: Which Cancer Treatment Causes Hair Loss
Do All Chemotherapies Cause Hair Loss
Many chemotherapy drugs have no effect on your hair. Others cause mild hair thinning or complete hair loss. Your care team can tell you if hair loss is expected with your treatment. Scalp hair is the most frequently affected, but loss of eyelashes, eyebrows, facial hair, pubic hair and body hair can also occur. The degree of hair loss will depend on several factors, including the chemotherapy drug and dose received, how it is given, and other treatments.
Questions About Receiving Rituxan
Here are answers to some questions related to receiving Rituxan.
- What if I miss a dose of Rituxan? If you miss an appointment to get your Rituxan infusion, call your doctors office right away to reschedule. And check with your doctor about whether a missed dose will affect your usual dosing schedule.
- Will I need to use Rituxan long term? The length of time youll use Rituxan depends on the condition youre using the drug to treat. In some cases, you may only receive up to 16 doses of the drug. Talk with your doctor about the length of time you should expect to use Rituxan.
- How long does Rituxan take to work? Rituxan begins working right away after your first dose is given. But, for conditions such as cancer, you may not notice the drug working in your body. Your doctor will monitor you periodically to make sure its working. Talk with your doctor about how theyll monitor your condition during Rituxan treatment.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors, such as what your insurance plan covers. The cost of Rituxan treatment also include fees to receive doses of the drug at a clinic, doctors office, or hospital.
To find current prices for Rituxan in your area, visit WellRx.com.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Rituxan manufacturers website to see if they have support options.
You May Like: How To Hide Thinning Hair Men
Is Chemo Working If No Side Effects
Most patients are usually apprehensive about taking chemotherapy because of this misconception, Mudad said. Some patients even assume if they don’t experience side effects, the treatment is not working. Mudad debunked this myth. There is absolutely no relationship between effectiveness and side effects, he said.
Chemotherapy Hair Loss Timeline
Hair loss usually doesnt happen immediately after chemotherapy. Instead, it may start after a few treatments.
A study of people with breast cancer treated with chemotherapy found that 99.9% experienced hair loss, beginning at day 18 of treatment, on average. Only 4% still had hair loss after two years.
Recommended Reading: How To Cure Hair Loss Due To Thyroid
Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Using Rituxan
Its not safe to use Rituxan during pregnancy. Doing so can harm a developing fetus. If you can become pregnant, you should avoid conceiving for at least 12 months after your last dose of Rituxan.
Breastfeeding is not recommended while using Rituxan and for at least 6 months after the last dose. The effects of Rituxan on a breastfed child arent known.
If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor. They can help guide you about the safest treatment options during this time.
How To Diagnose Drug Induced Hair Loss
If you think that you may be experiencing hair loss as a result of a medication, you should speak with a healthcare professional, particularly the doctor that prescribed the suspect medication. Some of the early signs of excessive hair loss include an increased amount of hair on your pillow, more hair on your brush, and more hair in the shower drain.
Whenever a doctor is attempting to diagnose drug induced alopecia, they will take a complete medical history in order to account for the new medications, changes to doses, and family history of hair loss.
Read Also: How To Take Care Of Thin Hair Male
Does Rituxan Treat Ms Or Lupus
With MS, your immune system breaks down the protective layer around your spinal cord and brain. This can lead to fatigue and trouble walking, concentrating, or thinking.
Lupus can cause problems with almost every organ and tissue in your body, including your:
If youd like to learn more about using Rituxan for MS or lupus, talk with your doctor.
Chemo’s Effect On Cells
Cancer cells tend to divide very quicklyat a much higher rate than most of the cells in the body. They ignore the signals and mechanisms that tell normal cells to stop dividing.
Some normal cells in our bodies also rapidly divide, like hair follicle cells, the mucous membrane cells lining of the digestive tract , and the blood-producing cells in the bone marrow.
Chemotherapy drugs work by targeting rapidly dividing cells. They damage the genetic material inside cells that guide cell division. Chemotherapy drugs cannot tell the difference between these normal, rapidly dividing cells and cancer cells, so the drug affects these cells as well.
The hair follicles have a good blood supply, which unfortunately allows chemotherapy drugs to reach them efficiently. About 65% of people who receive chemotherapy will experience hair loss. The amount of hair loss can depend on which chemotherapy agent is used, as well as the timing, dose, and route of administration. It can also vary from person to person, and it’s hard to predict who will be affected most.
About 90% of your scalp hair is in the active growth phase at any one time. This hair will be affected by chemotherapy agents.
There are five classes of chemotherapy drugs, each of which affects a different part of the cell growth cycle or acts in a different way. Which agent is chosen depends on the type of cancer.
Read Also: Does Brain Tumor Cause Hair Loss
When To Have Rituxan Infusions
How often you have your Rituxan infusions depends on what condition you have. You can also talk with your doctor about how often you can expect to have infusions.
To help make sure that you dont miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. It may also be helpful to put your treatment schedule in a calendar.
Rituxan affects a specific protein called CD20, which is located on B cells. By binding to CD20, Rituxan causes your B cells to be destroyed. This decreases the number of cancer cells in your body.
In other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis , pemphigus vulgaris, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and microscopic polyangiitis, its believed that B cells lead to swelling and inflammation. By binding to and destroying these cells, Rituxan helps ease the symptoms you experience from your condition.