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Oncologists do incredible work. They devote themselves to getting you through your cancer journey physically. As someone who has experienced cancer first-hand, I can say that my oncology team is the very reason that I am still alive today. So, I have nothing but pure admiration for each and every dedicated person who has ensured that I am here now, cancer-free and sharing my story with you!
Here are the most frequently asked questions about hair loss when going to chemotherapy:
Will cancer treatment mean I lose my hair?Yes, hair loss happens. Should your oncology team tell you to prepare to lose your hair – it will happen. So many of us hope to be the exception to the rule and, while it is completely understandable, the best thing that you can do for your mental health is come to terms with the process.
Can I prevent my hair from falling out during cancer treatment?No, you can’t prevent your hair from falling out. Lots of women will stop brushing their hair in the hopes that it will stay put. Not only will this not work, but it will actually cause lots of tangling issues. It is important to brush your hair more often from Day 14 onwards, as this will help release the hairs which are due to fall. Also, plaiting long hair before you go to bed is another great way to avoid tangling overnight.
Will my rate of hair loss depend on my cancer treatment plan?Yes. How quickly, slowly, much or little you lose your hair will depend on how many treatment cycles you have, what’s in your prescribed dosage, the strength of the dosage, whether your cycles are weekly or three-weekly, if you have a break from treatment, how thick your hair is, how healthy and strong your body is – and more. These are all factors which play their part in making hair loss an individual experience for everyone. If your oncology team says to expect thinning hair rather than total hair loss, that is different altogether and we will explain that at another time.
From our own research and recordings of over one thousand women, we have found that for most chemotherapy-related hair loss, when people have a cycle every three weeks, hair loss generally occurs on Day 17 (Day 1 being your first cycle).