Hair Loss Caused by Cancer Treatment

In this post I thought it would be useful to focus on hair loss caused by cancer treatment. As most of us are aware, some cancer treatments will cause people to lose some or all of their hair, usually in clumps during shampooing or brushing. Clumps of hair are often found on the pillow in the morning.

This hair loss is caused when chemotherapy drugs travel around the body to kill cancer cells and damage hair follicles in the process causing the hair to fall out. However this hair loss can be unpredictable. Some patients experience it, others don’t, even when taking identical drugs. Some drugs cause hair loss on the scalp alone or full body hair loss including pubic hair, limb hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Radiation therapy to the head often causes scalp hair loss, and sadly this does not always grow back fully if treatment is prolonged or intensive, for example to shrink a brain tumour prior to surgery. Head caps full of ice can help prevent hair loss in some cancer cases, but again results are mixed.

If hair loss does occur, expect to see it within 2 weeks of the start of treatment. You may then find that your scalp becomes quite sensitive to washing, combing or brushing during the short time when your hair is falling out. The good news is that hair often starts to grow back even before treatment is completed and will often be much softer than before. Kylie Minogue famously said that she preferred her hair much better after it grew back following her bout of breast cancer.

If your specialist has warned you that you are at risk of hair loss, you might want to think ahead and visit us at Aspiration so we can make sure that you have retained your hair as far as the outside world is concerned. Then you can commence treatment with confidence knowing that you won’t have to worry about your hair as well as your cancer treatment. We can even help with eyebrows and eyelashes and permanent make-up.