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Women's Health Blog

Coping with Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

Hair loss, or alopecia, during chemotherapy is common and can be an eye-opening and shocking experience. Prepare yourself for the process by following our recommended coping tips.

When used alone, numerous cancer drugs have the side effect of hair loss. Other cancer drugs without this side effect, when used in conjunction with other drugs, may cause hair loss. The medication targets cells that divide easily including cancer cells and epithelial cells. Unfortunately, epithelial cells surround hair follicles. When those cells are destroyed, your hair falls out. Drug dosage and your physiology can also affect hair loss during chemotherapy

Hair loss not only affects the head, but it may affect the arms, legs, armpits, pubic area, eyebrows, and eyelashes. While it can take six months or longer, your hair will grow back after treatment.

 

Stay Empowered

Many people fear hair loss because it lets others see their health condition. Becoming comfortable with the realization can take time, but there are a few options to help you cope:

  • Be bold. Cut or shave your hair before the hair loss occurs. Hair that is already cut won’t fall out in clumps and you’ll feel less shocked when it does.
     
  • Wear wigs. Try out different types and styles, and see which one speaks to you. Wigs range from custom human hair to synthetic varieties. You can also try an assortment of head covers or wraps.
     
  • Use shampoo. If you decide to accept being bald, remember to use shampoo and not body wash to maintain healthy hair follicles. Also apply sunscreen or wear a heat when going outdoors. Your head has been covered with hair for a long period of time, so it’s vulnerable to sunburn.

Hair loss doesn’t have to be a tragedy. It can be an opportunity for you to be adventurous and daring. Take control of your life and embrace your inner beauty and outer beauty.

Find support for your loved one throughout the cancer journey with cancer care navigators, found at Beebe Healthcare's Tunnell Cancer Center. Click here to learn more.