Hair loss is one of the most commonly dreaded side effects of chemotherapy treatment. While the life-saving benefits of this form of therapy clearly outweigh any embarrassment, you might experience over losing your hair, it helps to understand why this side effect occurs and what you can do to feel better about it.
Chemotherapy’s Target: Rapidly-Dividing Cells
Chemotherapy’s tendency to cause hair loss stems from the same mechanisms that allow it to wipe out cancer. Certain drugs used in chemotherapy are designed to kill the most rapidly-dividing cells in the body. Since cancerous cells tend to divide more rapidly than normal, they fall prey to the drugs while most of your other cells remain unaffected. Unfortunately, hair cells also divide relatively rapidly. This makes them as vulnerable to the chemotherapy drugs as the cancer cells. (It’s worth noting, however, that some chemotherapy don’t cause any hair loss whatsoever.)
Hair Loss Trends and Patterns During Chemotherapy
If you’re fated to lose hair to chemotherapy, you can expect to see this side effect begin a few weeks after your treatment starts. The actual pattern of hair loss can vary depending on the drugs used in treatment. The hair loss might be limited to the head, or it might include body hair as well. You might notice that the hair comes out in random clumps, or you might experience a subtle, uniform thinning.
The Hair Regrowth Phase
The odds are good that your hair will grow back to its former fullness after you have completed your chemotherapy treatment. The first fuzzy regrowth may occur a few weeks after the drugs have exited your body. It commonly takes up to 6 months to regrow 2 to 3 inches of hair following chemotherapy, so have patience. sometimes the new hair has a different color or texture than the hair it replaces.
What Can You Do About Chemo-Related Hair Loss?
Chemo-related hair loss usually has to take its course. Your doctor may not want you to use any special techniques or devices for retaining your hair during this period, on the grounds that it might interfere with the chemotherapy’s effectiveness. Many cancer patients find that colorful, stylish hats and scarves make them feel more confident in public. A custom human hair wig can also help your self-esteem during this difficult time. For more information and advice, click here to contact New-U today for a free consultation!
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