Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

What is hair loss and how is chemotherapy related?
  • Believe it or not, hair loss (alopecia) due to chemotherapy is one of the most distressing side effects of chemo treatments.  
  • Hair loss happens because the chemotherapy affects all cells in the body, not just the cancer cells.  The lining of the mouth, stomach, and the hair follicles are especially sensitive because those cells multiply rapidly just like the cancer cells. The difference is that the normal cells will repair themselves, making these side effects temporary. 
  • Hair loss does not occur with all chemotherapy.  Whether or not your hair remains as it is, thins or falls out, depends on the drugs and dosages.  
  • Hair loss may occur as early as the second or third week after the first cycle of chemotherapy, although it may not happen until after the second cycle of chemotherapy.  
  • Hair loss can be sudden or slow.  
  • You may lose all of your hair or just some of it.  
  • Often it comes out in clumps rather than an even pattern.  
  • It is common for hair loss to include hair that grows anywhere including eyelashes, eyebrows, and even pubic hair.

In almost all cases of chemotherapy-induced hair loss, your hair will resume growth after treatments.  
  • It may take from three to six months after therapy is completed or it may start growing back while you are still receiving chemotherapy.  Be prepared for your "new" hair to possibly have a slightly different color, texture, or curl.

Can you prevent hair loss during chemo treatments?
  • Through the years, attempts have been made to reduce hair loss by using tight bands or ice caps.  While these techniques may reduce hair loss by reducing blood flow to the scalp and limiting chemotherapy exposure to hair follicles, there is a theoretical concern that this could reduce the effectiveness of treatment in that area. 

What can be done to manage hair loss due to chemotherapy?

Our dedicated RNHW team will help guide you through your hair loss by:

  • educating you about the effects of chemotherapy and when to expect hair loss to occur 
  • verifying and billing your insurance 
  • assisting you in choosing the right cranial prosthesis for your lifestyle prepping your new hair for delivery serving as your extended support system throughout the whole process.

When a client is faced chemotherapy hair loss, we ask them to immediately come in with their cranial prosthesis prescription before chemotherapy treatment begins, for a complimentary consultation.  During this consultation we will discuss all of your options to help you stay confident during your temporary hair loss.

We will then educate you about the different types of wigs (human hair wigs and synthetic hair wigs) and help you decide what hair loss solution will work best for you to give you the most realistic duplication of your natural hair.

All of our consultation rooms are private and are equipped with the best salon hair styling equipment available.  A team member will explain the process of when hair loss will begin and most importantly when your natural hair will regrow.

At RNHW, we carry an extensive line of human hair and synthetic wigs and hairpieces for your chemotherapy hair loss solutions.  We also have many turbans, scarves and hats in stock to suit your fashion style.  Do you have questions?  Call a RNHW  team member, or schedule a free consultation at 713-623-4247.

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