Chemotherapy and hair loss
Chemotherapy is a drugs treatment. The drugs or cytostatics are killing cells or inhibiting cell growth. Unfortunetly these drugs are not able to distinguish healthy fast replicating cells from fast replicating cancer cells. So the drugs can have negative side-effects for hair, nails, skin and digestive tract cells, because these are fast replicating cells.
That's the reason why you can lose your hair during chemotherapy, or have a dry and itchy skin. Not all cytostatic drugs have the same side-effects. Some drugs don't give hair loss. Your medical team will inform you what to expect. The type of chemotherapy depends on the cancer sort (breastcancer needs other drugs than lung cancer), stage and other medical conditions you already have.
Hair loss; who and when?
Hair loss can occur on every body part with hair: scalp, face, arms, legs and genital region. Most visible is of course hair loss on your scalp. Your hair is an important part of your appearance. Losing your hair is often felt as losing a part of oneself.
Often it seems you are the one exeption, your hair is still firm on your head the first week after the first chemo. But then after two weeks, your scalp begins to hurt, as if your hair has been tied up all day. This is calles hairache. And often at week three, your are losing your hair. It suddenly goes fast, your pillow is covered with hair. Most of the time only a few thin hairs remain.
At firts hair of the scalp and genital region start falling out. Later on you can lose hair of the axilla, eyebrows, eyelashes and other body parts. How much hair you lose depends on the type of drugs and can vary from person by person. Most of the people start covering their scalp, at week three, when they start losing their hair. Some people shave their scalp, some don't. It is your own choice. Though practical (no hairs at your pillow , cloths etc.) shaving your hair is often an sad and confronting moment.
As Mooihoofd / Myheadwear / Feel-Better Favourites, we would like to help you with comfortable hats, caps, headscarves, sleep caps, to make you feel a bit better.
Your hair after treatment
After the treatment your hair will slowly grow back. At first very thin and fluffy, later on more firm. Don't be suprised if you suddenly see curls in your hair after chemo. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they don't. After a few months you will see more defined what kind of hair will stay. In most of the cases more firm, then you used to.
Sources: de-amazones.nl, allesoverchemotherapie.nl, borstkanker.net