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Cancer and Hair Loss

Dr. Aman Dua | November, 5 2014 | 0 Comments

Cancer, in your body or anyone else’s is always difficult to handle and hair loss is a part of cancer treatment that cannot be shielded away from. While some people suffer from temporary hair loss, for many, the loss is often permanent. In order to understand why this hair loss is permanent, it is essential to understand what happens during chemotherapy or radiation therapy.Hair-Loss-advice-505878

During a session of chemotherapy, anti-cancer drugs are used and these are aimed at destroying the dangerous cancer cells. Even though the drugs are meant to destroy the growth of cancerous cells, they also affect the healthy cells, including ones associated with hair follicles. There are cases, where hair from other parts of the body, including eyelashes, eyebrows and chest are also known to fall off.

While for many people, the hair fall is quite drastic and within a matter of weeks, they lose all the hair, at least on their head. However, there have been reported cases, where patients undergoing chemotherapy are known only to face hair thinning. Even though, this condition is known as alopecia, it need not be permanent and in many cases, there has been regrowth of natural hair.

Similar cases have been reported by those who have undergone radiotherapy or radiation therapy. While chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs, radiotherapy utilises high energy rays to destroy the same cells. However, the one benefit of radiotherapy is that it destroys the hair, only in the area that is being treated. So, for instance, if you are being treated for breast cancer, you will lose hair around your chest and armpits only.

There are tested and proven methods that show that one can prevent hair loss during chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well. For instance, cooling gel caps have proven to be quite helpful – when the scalp is cooled, the reach of the anti-cancer drugs reduces and there is lesser possibility of hair loss. However, there are certain types of cancer, with which, cooling caps cannot be used. This is something you will have to confirm with your doctor first.

If you are undergoing chemotherapy, chances are that your hair will grow back, usually within a period of 3-6months. In some cases, they can start growing after the completion of treatment or after a short period. However, with radiotherapy, chances of the hair growing back are very less, and even if it does grow back, the growth will be quite patchy or not as thick as before.

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua, Co-Founder & Managing Director at AK Clinics has over 14 years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant. Clinically, she has practiced aesthetic dermatology as a Consultant at Dayanand Medical Hospital, Ludhiana where she also served as the Assistant Professor & Skin Specialist for a number of years.

Over the course of her career, she has garnered acclaim as a facial aesthetics expert, with special interest in non-surgical acne scar removal. She practices as a Chief Dermatologist at Ludhiana Clinics.

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