Hair Loss from Chemo - What to Expect

When people think of chemotherapy, they instantly think of hair loss though in reality, hair loss from chemo is only one of the symptoms. Nonetheless it can be the most important one from the point of view of having the greatest effect on the patient, not only in self confidence, but also in self image.Recent studies have shown that the greatest danger to a woman during chemotherapy is the loss of her self image which is not always regained after the hair has grown back. Different women react differently to this problem, and forewarned is forearmed. Meaning that most women don't fully appreciate the importance of their hair to their psychological make up until they lose it.

Different types of chemotherapy drugs cause differing effects with regard to hair loss. For example, a certain breast cancer drug merely causes your hair to thin out, whereas a particular lung cancer drug causes the hair to fall out suddenly (which can be creepy). So it's best to know the drugs that are being used on you so that you can anticipate the effect and brace yourself for it in advance.

Be prepared to lose hair not just on your head, but also on other parts of your body like your eyelashes, and eyebrows though once more, not all drugs cause the loss of other body hair. The reason your hair falls out is that the drugs used in chemo treatment aim to destroy cells that reproduce quickly (cancer cells do that) and this unfortunately also includes your hair cells.

The effects on the hair start a few weeks after chemo treatment begins. Many women choose to shape their hair to it's state during chemo before it actually happens. This allows them to have a degree of control over what is otherwise out of their control.

This is a good time to start planning your hair loss management strategies to cover up your head if you want. This can be achieved by means of wigs, caps, scarves, and turbans. Preparation is the key to dealing with hair loss from chemo.

If you've prepared yourself well before chemo, you can minimize the effects of the treatment to your self image after it's over. As mentioned in the beginning, the greatest danger from chemotherapy is the blow to the person's self confidence.

Hair regrowth starts a few weeks after the treatment has been completed. Initially, it might have have a slightly different texture and color - especially if you've used hair coloring or other treatments to cover up the lack of a full head of hair. But all this reverts back to normal after a few months, and you can get back to your regular lifestyle!

Women who have successfully combated cancer say that it's always quite a shock when your hair falls out regardless of how much you might have prepared for it. In that case, it's just as well to be prepared for the shock.

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