Chemotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for various types of cancer. However, this procedure may cause side effects, such as hair loss (alopecia), insomnia, nausea, and fatigue. Hair loss, in particular, is the most distressing effect of chemotherapy for many patients. There are various ways that a person undergoing chemotherapy can reduce and cope with hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss During Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy cancer treatment method that involves taking various drugs to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Unfortunately, the medication also attacks other cells that multiply rapidly, such as those in the hair roots. These effects may cause a person to lose hair throughout the body, including the scalp and armpits. Some of the drugs can cause mere thinning, while others may lead to complete balding. Hence, one should consult with their doctor regarding the medication’s side effects to know what to expect.
How Long Does It Take to Experience Hair Loss?
Hair may start falling off approximately two to four weeks after you start chemotherapy. One is likely to notice clumps of hair on their comb or pillow. Moreover, the scalp may feel tender, and hair can fall out either in clusters or a few strands. Fortunately, alopecia from chemotherapy is mainly temporary, and the hair may regrow approximately three months after stopping treatment. However, a patient should expect some alteration in their hair, such as a change in color and texture.
Ways to Deal with Hair Loss During Chemotherapy
No treatment procedure can guarantee a person that their hair will not fall out during chemotherapy. Nevertheless, there are various methods used to reduce hair loss, such as scalp hypothermia. This procedure entails fitting a cooling cap on a patient’s head during chemotherapy infusion. The cap contains a chilled liquid that slows blood flow on the scalp, hence reducing the effect of the medication on hair roots. One can also choose to cover their head using a wig, hat, or scarf to hide the bald spots. Luckily, some insurance companies can cover the cost of purchasing a wig either fully or partially.
Most chemotherapy regimens cause hair loss and thinning, but there are numerous ways to manage the situation. It is advisable to consult with your doctor and a hair loss specialist on the appropriate treatment for both hair loss and cancer. These steps will help you learn about other affects you may experience from chemotherapy and how to deal with them.
If you are experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss and would like to learn more about the different wig options available to you, please request a free confidential consultation with a trained Transitions professional hair loss specialist. To find a location near you click here.