A Guide to Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss
Coping with hair loss and hair thinning can be a struggle for everyone. When your hair loss is induced by chemotherapy, it can be devastating. Having cancer is frightening, and you might be dealing with a life or death situation. Yet, for many people, the prospect of chemotherapy and losing their hair is the very worst part of the cancer diagnosis and treatment process.
Why is Chemotherapy Related Hair Loss So Hard?
Cancer drugs can wreak havoc on the body while treating the illness. Every cycle of chemo can induce various side effects like nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. There are various drugs to help manage these side effects, but everyone would agree that chemotherapy is not easy.
Unfortunately for cancer patients, the hair loss caused by chemotherapy is one side effect that Is the most difficult to come to terms with. Why? Hair loss is never easy. Different societies and cultures place great value on hair length, style, color, and more. Our hair can be directly related to our level of self-confidence and overall pride in our appearance. Hair is something we struggle to keep. Knowing that hair loss is going to be imminent, even if temporary, is a difficult pill to swallow.
Many cancer patients struggle during chemotherapy treatment to remain active and engaged in everyday life. Hair loss is often an unwelcome reminder to themselves that they have cancer. Their bald scalp might be the only indication to the outside world that they are getting cancer treatment. Chemotherapy induced hair loss can elicit some very complex emotions related to self-esteem and how we want others to perceive us.
Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?
Hair loss from cancer treatment is technically called chemotherapy induced alopecia.
Chemotherapy works by attacking any cell that tends to divide and replicate quickly. Chemotherapy can’t necessarily differentiate between a healthy cell and a cancer cell.
Various parts of the body contain cells that divide and replicate quickly, especially your organs. For this reason, chemotherapy is very hard on the body, and while it can successfully treat many cancers, it can also cause damage to various systems of the body.
Your hair follicles on your scalp and the rest of your body are loaded with these quickly growing cells, which, although healthy, are a prime target for chemotherapy. Hair loss from chemotherapy can occur anywhere on the body you have hair. Cancer treatment can cause hair loss on your scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes, pubic region, arms, and legs.
What Can You Do If You Are Facing Treatment Related Hair Loss?
Some people dread the thought of hair loss so much when they get chemotherapy that they invest in a device called a scalp cooling system that induces “scalp hypothermia.” The theory has it that scalp cooling during treatments restricts the blood flow to your hair follicles in a way that makes the chemotherapy drugs less inclined to attack the cells there.
Scalp cooling is a controversial treatment to prevent hair loss associated with chemotherapy. Some oncology experts and medical professionals think it is more trouble than it is worth, has limited benefits, and can cause severe headaches for the patient. The true efficacy of scalp cooling is unclear, but some cancer patients feel better knowing they are doing something they think could help control their hair loss.
Other cancer patients face their impending hair loss head-on and cut their hair short right away. Once chemotherapy begins, hair may fall out all at once, in patches, or just become thinner during your cycle of treatment. Some patients, women, in particular, say cutting the hair short can ease the transition from having a full head of hair to a starkly bald or quickly thinning scalp.
When faced with the prospect of chemotherapy, many patients will seek a hair replacement option such as a wig. Getting a wig at the early stage of your cancer diagnosis can ease a lot of the anxiety that might come with the prospect of hair loss. Obtaining a wig before your hair loss begins means you can closely match your pre-cancer look. Knowing you have a wig on hand that can help you look and feel like yourself can bring tremendous comfort to a patient about to begin chemotherapy treatment.
Don’t Forget: Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss is Usually Not Permanent
When you receive a cancer diagnosis like breast cancer, lung cancer, or colon cancer, the most important thing on which to focus should be your health. Following doctor’s orders, eating healthy, and minimizing stress can be crucial to your recovery. Worrying about hair loss should be far from your mind – but it might not be.
Whether you decide to cut your hair, shave your scalp, or get a custom-designed wig, don’t forget that your chemotherapy induced hair loss is not likely to be permanent. After your cancer treatment ends for good or even between cycles, hair usually grows back. It may not grow back exactly the same texture or color as it was before your cancer treatments, but it certainly could.
Call Riviera Hair Replacement To Learn How We Can Help Cancer Patients Cope With Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss
At Riviera Hair Replacement, we have extensive experience helping cancer patients deal with hair loss caused by chemotherapy.
We have consulted with countless men, women, and children, designing and creating wigs that are comfortable and stylish. We take great pride in the knowledge that our wigs are helping patients feel and look like their best selves during their cancer treatments.
Call Riviera Hair Replacement today to learn more about how we can help you through your chemotherapy induced hair loss journey. Call 516-364-0110 to schedule a free consultation with our hair replacement specialists. You will be glad you did.