Hair Loss After Chemotherapy

Most of us know atleast a cancer patient who has undergone the chemotherapy for cancer. It is also a common information that one of the side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. Hair loss after chemotherapy adds to the distress of the patient who is already undergoing the cancer treatment and is very upsetting for the patient to see the hair lost in such a short span of time.

However, hair loss after chemotherapy can be treated and hair can grow back and there are newer methods to prevent hair loss after chemotherapy.

Why does hair fall after chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy involves injecting cytotoxic drugs intravenously and it can disrupt the normal growth cylce of hair and affecting the hair in anagen phase ie the hair in the growth phase are arrested and shed in 4 to 6 weeks time after the chemotherapy. This type of hair loss is called Anagen Effluvium.

COLD CAPS to Reduce Hair Fall After Chemotherapy

Cold caps are ice packs around the scalp to freeze the hair follicles to prevent the chemotherapy drugs on acting them. This method diminishes the hair loss after chemotherapy but the the question of effectiveness of the chemotherapy arises and hence using cold packs are questionable.

Dealing with hair loss after chemotherapy

Persons undergoing chemotherapy sometimes choose to completely shave their heads before the chemotherapy to achieve a sense of control.By doing so they wont see the hair loss actively after the treatment and will be less distressing to them. Patients with longer hair can sport a short hairstyle or wear scarves or wigs or hair pieces to feel emotionally better.

Modern wig look near natural with different styles, color and texture of hair. Wearing wigs will not disturb the hair growth but its advisable to remove the wig from time to time to let the scalp breathe. Scalp will be producing the oil and sweat and daily shampooing is helpful in cleaning the scalp and maintaining the hygiene.

AFTER CHEMOTHERAPY

In almost 99% of the cases hair grows back after chemotherapy but it may be of different texture and finer and thinner initially.It may change its colour and shape also. These may be temporary changes and later hair may return to its original condition more or less.

Once your hair  grows back, and feels strong enough, the usual shampoo and conditioner may be used and can be styled like before. You may chemically treat them, highlight them after the patch test. Even though you have colored and treated your hair before the chemotherapy, a patch test is recommended as hair may behave differently after the chemotherapy.

WHAT WE DO IN OUR CLINICS FOR POST-CHEMOTHERAPY HAIR LOSS

After your oncologist okays you for topical treatments, you can start to stimulate and increase blood flow to your scalp for better hair growth. Your follicles are wanting to grow hair back and a little help will encourage them in a right way. You can aid this with suitable treatments – such as scalp masks and topical stimulant drops, and some changes to your diet and nutritional supplements if required.For more information on treatments we offer at the Revita  Trichology Clinic, please contact us at our Mumbai clinics.

RADIOTHERAPY

Localised radiotherapy can result into  hair loss in the affected area treated with radiotherapy. In breast cancer it can affect armpit hair. In cases of brain tumors, radiotherapy can permanently destroy the hair follicles of the treated area. The hair can be regrown in that area with hair transplant after a proper evaluation.