Hair Regrowth After Chemotherapy
Most cancer patients want to grow their hair back as soon as possible. Cancer is a dreadful thing. It changes a person inside and out. Undergoing chemotherapy often leads to complete hair loss, regardless of which cancer the patients are fighting or which drug they’re taking. They lose hair not just on the scalp but all over the body. Losing hair due to any cause especially chemotherapy, makes a person go through some hard physical and emotional pain. Should the patient deal with this life consuming illness or the results of its treatments? I salute every man, woman and child who went through this painful period and got off of it with a strong will. That’s the true meaning of braveness.
How Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?
Chemotherapy refers to the strong drugs that are used in treating cancer. Those drug work on eliminating all the fast dividing cells in the human body. Unfortunately, these drugs cannot distinguish the good, healthy cells from the bad ones. The cells that are most vulnerable to the effects of chemotherapy are those that divide rapidly, including the cells that make up hair follicles. As a result, these follicles became so damaged that they can’t produce hair anymore. Good news is that those brave people will regain their hair once the treatment is over.
Within a few weeks of starting chemo, you may lose some or all of your hair. Some chemotherapy drugs affect only the hair on your head. Others cause the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, pubic hair, and hair on your legs, arms, or underarms. However, not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss as a side effect. So whether it happens to you, depends partly on the specific drugs and doses you are given. Some types of chemotherapy are given weekly and in small doses which minimizes hair loss. Unlike some harsh treatments that are scheduled every three to four weeks in higher doses. Those kinds are the treatments that affects hair follicles the most.
- Taxol is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body. Taxol is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. This drug causes complete hair loss on the head, usually during the first few weeks of treatment.
- Cytoxan is an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug. It treats a certain type of kidney disease in children after other treatments have not worked. This drug causes minimal hair loss in most women, but some may lose a great deal.
- Methotrexate may cause very serious, life-threatening side effects. You should only take methotrexate to treat cancer or certain other conditions that are very severe. This drug treats certain types of cancer including cancers that begin in the tissues that form around a fertilized egg in the uterus, breast cancer, lung cancer and other types. This medicine thins hair in some people but not others. And it’s rare to have complete hair loss from using it.
- 5-fluorouracil is the generic name for the trade name drug Adrucil. 5FU can be given on its own or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. One of the side effects of this drug is a reduce in the number of white blood cells in the blood. This will make you more likely to get an infection. However, it causes minimal hair loss in most patients.
- Adriamycin or Doxorubicin, usually is given in combination with other chemotherapy medicines before surgery to shrink large advanced-stage of breast cancer tumors. This drug may cause severe tissue, skin, or muscle damage if it leaks from the vein. It may also cause severe and possibly life-threatening heart problems. This drug causes complete hair loss on the head, usually during the first few weeks of treatment.
How To Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy And Cancer
Hair loss is one of the most obvious side effects of cancer treatment. Chemo patient cannot completely prevent hair loss during the treatment. But there are some things they can do to minimize it. Here are some steps to follow that can help during your chemo:
- Wash your hair gently with a mild shampoo.
- Avoid excessive brushing. Once a day is enough.
- Use a wide-tooth comb to brush your hair.
- Get a short hair cut that doesn’t put much weight on the follicles.
- Avoid styling like braids and ponytails.
- Stay away from ironing and hair dryers.
- Use cold caps because cold skin prevents hair follicles from efficiently absorbing the drugs. The devices seem to work best for patients with breast cancer.
- Use some anti-hair loss oils and ingredients to help prevent excessive hair loss.
- Purchase anti hair loss shampoos and products that can help your follicles remain alive as much as possible.
These previous steps can also help with your hair regrowth after chemotherapy. However, hair usually grows back as it used to be after finishing your chemo treatment. So you don’t have to panic and think you’re going to remain bald. If losing hair is affecting you emotionally (probably does) it is never a bad idea to seek help and ask for consolation from experts or your close ones. A cancer patient needs more support during the treatment and after the treatment. So, stay strong and all will end soon.