Dealing with Hair Loss due to Cancer Therapy

cancer_wig.2For some women, the thought of wearing a chemotherapy hat or cancer wig might be scarier than the starting cancer treatments. The truth is, most people think very little about hair loss until they are going through it.  When faced with the prospect of hair loss due to chemotherapy, patients often ask if anything can be done to prevent it, but unfortunately there is nothing that can stop hair loss with certain chemo drugs.

The total amount of hair loss will depend on the dose of radiation and chemotherapy and how it is administered.  If you are only receiving radiation treatments on other parts of the body and no chemotherapy, you should not expect the hair on your scalp to fall out, but most people with cancer do receive some form of chemotherapy.

Here are some things you can do prepare for eventual hair loss:

• Use a mild shampoo and conditioner. This will keep you from needing to pull your hair as much when combing, and may slow down hair loss somewhat.
• Once hair starts falling out, consider getting a shorter haircut.  It will be much easier to manage a short hair cut when you start to wear a cancer wig.
• Before going to bed at night, put on a hair net or turban cap to collect any loose hairs.  There is nothing worse than collecting lost hair from your pillow when you wake up in the morning.
• To reduce inflammation of the scalp once hair loss begins, use a soft brush and avoid pulling on the hair shaft. 
• Use a hair dryer only on the lowest setting to prevent dryness, and consider wearing sunscreen on your scalp or a hat to keep your scalp from getting sunburned. This will also help your cancer wig feel more comfortable.

Before you know it, your hair will begin to grow back. But remember, your new hair will be more fragile.  Until your hair regains its usual strength, keep styling to a minimum and avoid wide tooth combs, vigorous brushing and curlers.

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"I'm am writing this to thank you for the bead wig & the cap. My cancer center is very impressed."

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