Hair Loss during Chemotherapy and What to Expect


chemotherapyHair loss or hair thinning is a common side effect of chemotherapy. That’s because the drugs not only attack cancer cells but other cells as well, including hair root cells. Not every chemotherapy patient will lose their hair, but many will, particularly breast cancer patients. Their usual chemo treatments are particularly difficult on hair roots, often destroying them along with the harmful cells.

What to Expect

Chemotherapy recipients usually notice hair loss two to four weeks after beginning treatment. For some, the process is fast, although you might notice a more gradual process. Hair loss seems particularly cruel to those who have to worry about their survival. It’s one more indignity you must endure. Fortunately, you have options to treat this side effect.

Hair Loss Prevention

Some cancer patients have reduced their hair loss by using cooling caps. These caps work to reduce blood flow to the scalp, thus limiting the amount of chemo that reaches the hair roots. These caps can be uncomfortable and cause headaches, but they are an appealing and effective option for some patients.

Other Options

Cosmetic options also work well to disguise hair loss and allow patients to feel attractive while they undergo treatment. Short haircuts add the look of volume to hair, so changing your hairstyle can make a huge difference during your treatment.

Hair coverings are also a good choice. Hair scarfs and hats are convenient and cover-up hair difficulties while making a style statement.

Wigs and partial hairpieces are probably the most popular choices to hide hair loss during cancer treatment. Many health insurance policies cover the cost of wigs for cancer patients, so you can afford to purchase a high-quality hairpiece that allows you to look attractive during this difficult time in your life. You may want to acquire several wigs so you can experiment with your look. Some patients enjoy trying something different during this period as a distraction from their worries.

For many, hair loss is emotionally devastating. Chemo recipients already have plenty to worry about, so you shouldn’t have to suffer embarrassment about your hair loss. Remember, you have options. At Custom Hair Tampa Bay, our high-quality medical wigs allow patients to retain a semblance of normality. A beautiful, natural-looking wig removes just one of the challenges you’re facing as you battle illness. To schedule a free consultation click here.