Hair Loss during Cancer And Chemotherapy



Before we start talking about Hair Loss during Cancer And Chemotherapy, lets give a brief introduction about this life eating disease & its treatment &  their affects on the cells & the body in general.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. This disease begins in the cells, which are the building blocks of the body. Normally, the body forms new cells as human need them, replacing old cells that die. However, what’s not normal is when new cells grow even if the body doesn’t need them & old ones don’t die when they should. 

These extra cells can form a mass called benign or malignant tumors.  Cells from malignant tumors are the cancer cells that invade nearby tissues. They also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

Diagnosis And Blood Tests

Cancer diagnosis begins with a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history. Laboratory studies of blood, urine, and stool can detect abnormalities that may indicate cancer. The earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of its being cured.

What Is Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells by using anti-cancer drugs or medicines. This type of cancer treatment frightens many people doe to its affects on the human body. 

This type of treatment destroys cancer cells to the point that the doctor can no longer detect them in the body and they will not grow back.

Chemotherapy And Hair Loss


Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells—healthy cells as well as cancer cells. In this case, shedding can not be prevented. because the drugs are reaching out to the roots of the hair and preventing cancerous cells from growing there.

Hair follicles, the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. These follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as the chemo does its work against cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells. Within a few weeks of starting chemo, the patient may lose some or all of the hair all over the body.

Chemo hair loss may be dramatic. The patient will find clumps on the pillow,  in the brush, handfuls and in the drain. That’s totally depressing & the patient will need lot of family & friends support during this harsh time. No matter how forewarned you are and how ready you think you are, it’s always a terrible shock when your hair falls out.

The timing of the treatments will also affect hair loss. Some types of chemo are given weekly and in small doses, and this minimizes hair loss. Other treatments are scheduled every three to four weeks in higher doses, and may be more likely to cause more hair loss. However, patients shouldn’t worry about hair loss because it’s temporary. What’s more important is the health and the recovery. 

Hair cells should start to recover after the treatment is over. It may take from 3 to 10 months for the hair to grow back after you have stopped treatment. The chemo patients may notice few changes on their hair. It may be a different color or it might be curlier than it used to be. Those changes are usually temporary. Hair should get back at being normal after a while. 

How To Treat Hair During And After Chemotherapy

During and after treatment it is important to treat your hair very gently. During treatment your scalp might feel sore. You can sleep with a satin scarf or buy a satin pillowcase which is healthier for the hair. Use gentle shampoos, preferably ones that do not have sulfates and based on all natural & organic formulas.

It can take time for the damaged hair cells to be repaired and for the hair to regrow. Patience and support are the most two things that any chemo patient needs.