Chemotherapy related to hair loss

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Chemotherapy hair loss is one of the numerous effects of this cancer treatment. Why does one lose hair during chemotherapy? Well, the drugs used in this type of cancer treatment are very strong, therefore very efficient in attacking the rapidly developing cancer cells. There are normal body cells with a rapid growth rate, and they are not cancer; the cells in the digestive tract and the hair follicles are the main examples here. The effects of chemotherapy on hair are manifest for all the body parts covered by hair. Thus, patients will experience the loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic and armpit hair.


There is a wide variety of drugs that are used in chemotherapy. Among these, obviously some are more likely to cause chemotherapy hair loss than others. The difference in chemotherapy drug doses is relevant for chemotherapy hair loss, and while some patients will experience thinning of the hair others will go completely bald. Thus, make sure to discuss all such details with your doctor, in order to be prepared to cope with hair loss psychologically.

Hair usually starts falling out after 10-14 days from the beginning of the treatment. It may happen quite fast, either in clumps or gradually. Chemotherapy hair loss remains a problem throughout the entire period of the treatment and a month afterwards. Half the hair will be gone without one even noticing. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, chemotherapy hair loss represents a temporary effect. Hair can be expected to grow back within six months to one year after the cessation of the treatment. The new hair could have a slightly different shade of color, with the mention that even the texture could be altered too.

The hair recovery period after chemotorapy is six weeks on the average, and generally, the hair grows at a rate of about a quarter inch each month. The changes that took place in the hair follicles during chemotherapy will be obvious in the way the hair grows back, but in time, things will get back to normal. The color and texture alteration will be a first recovery sign and the hair will recover the look previous to the treatment the moment cellular pigmentation is functioning normally all over again. Unfortunately, chemotherapy hair loss cannot be prevented as none of the treatments available is completely free of such side effects.

That concludes this article, I hope you found the information helpful. Please feel free to continue to browse around the site for more useful articles.

By Dr. Bill Ackart