Hair loss depends on the type and dose of chemotherapy you are receiving. The reason hair loss happens is because chemotherapy cannot tell the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells; this results in healthy hair cells being affected by the chemotherapy, resulting in hair loss throughout the body. Hair grows back at a different pace for everyone, usually between 3-12 months. When your hair does grow, it may be a different color or texture than before. Your provider can tell you if you can expect hair loss once your treatment regimen is decided upon. Hair loss associated with chemotherapy is temporary and the hair WILL grow back. In the meantime, these tips may help cope with hair loss:
- You may wish to cut your hair before it starts falling out. The experience of losing hair is sometimes worse than dealing with it once it’s gone. If you expect to lose all or a lot of your hair, cutting it first may be easier to cope with.
- Plan ahead; shop for a wig before your hair is gone, especially if you wish to match your natural color. Or, take this opportunity to try something different.
- Try hats or head scarves; these are good alternatives or a complement to a wig.
- Remember to cover your head or use sunscreen on your scalp. Skin that has been covered with hair may be particularly sensitive to UV rays of the sun.
- Ask your insurance company if they cover the cost of the wig.
- Treat your new hair gently once it grows back. Avoid chemicals, bleach, peroxide, or colors.