I am taking chemotherapy. Will my hair fall out and how soon will it happen?

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JKJones (Pharmacist (Verified) ) - 11 / 08 / 2010

Hair loss (alopecia) is a common and distressing side effect from chemotherapy.

Hair loss depends on the chemo medication and dosages being administered. The loss of your hair may happen all at once or more slowly and you may lose all your hair or just some of it. Your eyelashes, eyebrows, and pubic hair may also be affected. It may occur in the second or third week after beginning treatments, or even after multiple cycles of treatment.

The important thought to keep in mind is that hair loss is temporary. Hair typically grows back 3-6 months after treatments are completed.

Hair loss cannot be prevented during chemotherapy and there is no treatment for it. Here are some suggestions to help deal with hair loss:
Have a short haircut before starting treatments.
Buy a wig.
Buy caps and learn how to tie scarves in unique ways.

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margok (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 01 / 25 / 2011

Hair falls out with most breast cancer chemo drugs, but there are some where it does not. (They tend to be the less aggressive chemo drugs.) Your oncologist can give you the statistics on common hair loss based on the drug "cocktail" you are prescribed. I had chemo and I can tell you that my hair fell out on the exact schedule the information packet said it would. As soon as it began to fall out, I shaved it off so I wouldn't have to deal with the emotions of seeing it fall out in clumps. But, everybody is different in this regard. I actually got a great looking wig and in some ways it was better than my own hair.

Nobody wants to lose their hair but obviously it is better to lose your hair than to lose your life, so you'll learn to deal with it if you have to. My hair began to grow back almost immediately after I completed chemo and if you looked at me now, you'd never know I ever lost my hair. Good luck with your treatments. That is the most important thing!
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