Hair Care and Chemotherapy

One of the most difficult aspects of cancer treatment is the devastation of hair loss during chemotherapy. 

Posted: 10/11/2011 04:45 PM EDT
Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Having gone through the cancer battle with family, clients and friends, I've learned that there are some aspects of the battle that it's best to deal with beforehand, before it becomes overwhelming.

This includes the loss of your hair.

A Naturally Devastating Experience

One of the most difficult aspects of treatment is the devastation of hair loss during chemotherapy.  My good friend expressed that the hair loss was almost worst than dealing with the cancer itself. For her, every time someone asked her about the hair loss, she had to relive the pain of coping with cancer itself. As a strong woman coping daily with her disease, she found that providing the explanation and seeing the look of sadness and awkwardness of others, made her really hate the hair loss even more.

For her, it was as if the hair loss was the general announcement of her disease, opening a door she would close over and over again. As a Hair Trauma Expert, I’ve decided to have a pro-active plan of action for anyone facing this battle, designed to provide greater understanding for what exactly happens to hair, as well as ways to minimize the emotional effect.

Hair Loss with Chemotherapy versus Radiation Therapy

Because of advancements in drug therapy, individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation experience fewer side effects than before. Nevertheless, chemotherapy comes with more severe side effects than radiation because all of the cells in the body may be affected by the drug being used.

Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?

Chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill rapidly growing cells. Our hair follicles divide rapidly, at a similar pace as that of cancer cells and are unfortunately affected by chemotherapy as well.


For more on hair and chemotherapy, visit BlackDoctor.org and for more on BET's breast cancer awareness campaign, visit BET Goes Pink.

(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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