After a patient finds out the horrible news that they have cancer and are told they have to get chemo, many patients initial reaction is the sadness that they will lose their hair. it’s you are a men, women or child losing your hair during cancer treatment can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and confidence. For some patients it can also be the turning point to when they have to let the non-family or friends world become aware that they are going through chemo treatment, for other patients, this becomes the turning point for when they inform their close family and friends that they have cancer and need to get chemo. From a personal point of view and thankfully I haven’t experienced this at first hand, I would image for most women losing their hair during cancer treatments would be a big blow. When I imagine in my own mind the reaction of my mother or wife finding out that they will lose their hair and compared it to the images of my dad or brother finding out, I imagine the for a women who enjoys their hair, loves going to the hairdresser, trying different styles etc , it’s a much hard hit for women losing their hair than a men. Look don’t get me wrong , no man wants to lose their hair but for a men who’s hair is generally shorter and will grow back a lot quicker when compared to a women you has a long, flowing beautiful hair most of their life I personally think its a tougher pill to swallow for a women cancer patients lose their hair.
Here are some more details I wrote about Why Do Cancer Patients lose their hair
Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation commonly cause hair loss in cancer patients.The reason for hair loss during the treatment regimen is due to the types and levels of the drug and radiation used that target cancer cells. Unfortunately, healthy cells die the hair needs in the process, and this causes hair loss. However, there are many different types of drugs used in chemotherapy and not all cause hair loss. Also, some radiation treatments are targeted to specific areas of the body and do not necessarily result in hair loss. It is recommended that patients speak with their doctor about the type of medication in their chemotherapy and/or the type of radiation.
Hair loss does not begin immediately. Typically, the patient will begin to see the first hair loss within approximately two weeks. Because of the destruction of cells, the hair follicle becomes damaged and as time and treatments progress, hair will go from coming out in strands to coming out in large clumps. Sometimes in as soon as two months, cancer patients lose their hair.
The loss of hair can be frightening and also emotionally upsetting to both men and women. For men, hair is a sign of virility, and for women, a sign of femininity. Having cancer, and undergoing treatments that result in other unpleasant side-effects is bad enough, to feel that everyone who sees you knows “Cancer Patients Lose Their Hair” and therefore the hair loss definitely adds insult to injury.
Given that the loss of hair during treatment is almost always inevitable, planning beforehand is a good idea. For men, the option of wearing a wig is not very popular as it is more obvious when a man wears a wig or hairpiece. However, this is an option and one that should be explored with the doctor, family members, or significant other. This, of course, is not an option for everyone and you should also have a read of my review of hair loss treatments for men
For women, a wig is a way of maintaining some dignity, and some even make it an adventure by trying styles and colors they would never have attempted B.C. (Before Cancer). It is a good idea to go wig shopping before hair loss so that it is easier to select a wig that is closest in color and texture of the original hair. Due to hair loss, the size of the head will change, so it is best to select a wig that is one size smaller if hair loss has not yet begun, again this might not be a option that suits you and you should have a read of my reviews of women’s hair loss products.
Men will mostly opt for shaving the entire head at the fist sign of balding. For men, a completely shaved head is often seen as a choice. For women, this is not so true. However, many women will take a preemptive strike and shave their heads after the first signs of significant hair loss. They may alternate between wigs and scarves, or choose one over the other. If choosing a wig, it is recommended to select one that has an open weave “scalp” as chemotherapy and radiation can bring on early menopause and cause women to have hot and cold flashes.
There is no tried and true preventive measure for impeding hair loss during chemotherapy or radiation treatment. However, it is possible to slow the progress by placing ice packs on the head during treatment, this decreases the flow of blood which is a conduit for medications introduced intravenously to the scalp. Also, keeping the head uncovered before, during, and after is a good idea as it reduces the temperature of the scalp area.
Before and after treatment care of the scalp can aid in preventing further damage to the scalp and hair follicles. The use of a gentle shampoo and conditioner, not more than twice per week is recommended. Also, using a soft-bristled brush, or better yet using fingers to gently comb and style hair slows hair loss and prevents damage. The avoidance of heat styling appliances, which damage even healthy hair is advised. I also review and discuss shampoos and oils products that help with hair regrowth.
The most important thing cancer patients can do during this time is to keep a positive outlook. Feeling and looking attractive does help in that regard. Surrounding oneself with supportive friends and family, laughter and conversation are essential to keeping moral up. Most cancer survivors find that once treatment is over, that hair does begin to grow back and that continued tender, loving care of the scalp and new hair will aid in the hair’s future health.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article on Why Do Cancer Patients Lose Their Hair