10 / 28 / 16

Cancer Treatment and Hair Loss: What Should You Expect?

By now it is well known that one of the side effects of cancer treatment is hair loss. Those who are undergoing radiation treatments or chemotherapy might simply assume that they are going to go bald—but is this always the case? How quickly will this hair loss happen? What can you expect, and how should you prepare for it?

Allow us to provide some answers to each of these questions, and also to highlight some of the ways in which Hair Professionals can help you adjust to medically-induced hair loss.

Radiation, Chemotherapy, and Hair Loss

Radiation and chemotherapy are the two major categories of cancer treatment that we are going to address here. Radiation treatment is a bit tamer, as far as hair loss goes: While it will cause you to lose hair, the hair loss only occurs at the area where the treatment is administered. If you’re receiving radiation treatments at your hip, for example, you’re probably not going to lose hair on your head; meanwhile, if you have radiation therapy to your head, you can anticipate the loss of that hair, as well as eyebrows and even eyelashes. With radiation treatments, hair loss usually starts within a couple of weeks of the first treatment.

And what about chemotherapy? It all depends on the kind of chemo drugs you receive, some of which cause only slight shedding—a level of hair loss that only you are likely to notice. Other chemo drugs might lead to complete hair loss. Your oncologist will be able to give you a better idea of what you can expect. Usually, any hair loss you experience will happen after your first few treatments, but probably not right away.

Preparing for Hair Loss

Once you begin to lose your hair—or perhaps even before—we recommend either cutting it extremely short, or perhaps even shaving it off altogether. These are ways to exert some control over the situation, and to make it easier to come to terms with hair loss. We are happy to perform head shavings here at Hair Professionals.

Even if you lose all your hair (or choose to shave it off), continue to treat your scalp with mild shampoos and conditioners—maintaining circulation to the scalp and preventing your skin from becoming dry or flakey.

Of course, the majority of cancer patients who experience hair loss end up wearing wigs—and we are happy to provide wigs here at Hair Professionals. We offer a fully personalized consultation experience, in which we tailor our services to your personal preferences and medical needs. The actual wigs we offer are not only fitted to your head, but totally customized to look the way you want them to.

Because these wigs are custom-made and special-ordered, we recommend coming in to start the process early—as soon as possible. That way, we can get the wig here before your hair loss begins in earnest.

Be encouraged that, in most cases, hair grows back following the cancer treatment—but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t select a wig for the interim. We would love to help you. Contact Hair Professionals today to learn more about the process.