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Why does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

Why does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

Chemotherapy is designed to target fast growing cancer cells in your body. Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs don’t distinguish between cancer cells and other rapidly growing cells your body such as those found in hair follicles. While every cancer drug is different and has different effects on different people, chemotherapy drugs may cause significant hair loss on your scalp as well as the rest of your body.

Hair follicles that produce your hair contain some of the fastest growing cells in your body. These rapidly growing cells are found in the proliferative matrix of the dermal papilla or root of the hair follicle. Hair loss in the form of sudden significant shedding can occur within a few weeks of starting chemotherapy.

Whether your hair remains “normal” during treatment, gets weaker over time, or sheds out completely depends on the type and dosage of your chemotherapy. Most chemotherapy causes temporary hair loss, but some chemotherapy medications are known to cause more hair loss more quickly and can also have a high likelihood of causing permanent damage to your hair follicles. Some patients report that after chemotherapy has stopped, their hair growth resumes but in a different volume, texture and curl. In some patients, hair regrowth may be significantly delayed or not regrow at all. If you are concerned, ask your oncologist about hair loss associated with the chemotherapy drugs he or she is prescribing and what options there are. 

The thought of losing hair can be disturbing. But the good news is that you can absolutely “be prepared” for the worst-case hair loss scenario! For many chemo patients, they are focused on the treatment of their cancer—and rightly so. However, many want to continue to live a ‘normal’ life and not ‘give a face to the disease’—meaning, they want to maintain a healthy appearance to their coworkers, family, friends or others, and not necessarily discuss their health situation. Your health is your business, so you should have the option of discussing it (or not) with whom you choose. Today’s modern hair restoration and hair replacement options like "CNC" 3D-printed cranial prosthetics are significantly different than the medical wigs of the past. Many cranial prosthetics can be totally or partially covered by your insurance.

At SalonB at Bauman Medical Group, our team of professionals, led by hair loss expert Dr. Alan Bauman, can help you determine what is the best course of action to take regarding your chemotherapy hair loss situation.  We work closely with many oncologists, cancer teams and social workers from around the country to help patients with chemotherapy-induced hair loss. After treating over 18,000 hair loss sufferers since 1997, we know every single hair loss patient is different, and we are here to offer help and compassionate support.

Do you want to discuss your hair loss situation with a professional, or simply be connected to others who are dealing with a similar hair loss situation from chemotherapy? Contact the experts Bauman Medical Group today at 561-394-0024. www.salonbboca.com

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