Nausea, fatigue and hair loss. These are some of the side effects that cancer patients suffer when they undergo chemotherapy. Maybe hair loss is not the strongest of all, but it is something that can damage self-esteem.
Of course, it is difficult. How to deal with such a drastic change, if it has never happened to you – nor is it likely to happen in ordinary circumstances? A man is expected to lose his hair, and be able to adapt to the change. However, It isn’t so easy for women.
Female hair loss tends to shout out that you’re putting up the greatest fight of your life, it tells the story of how you’re fighting cancer. It happens because the drugs used in chemotherapy are designed to attack cancer cells (and their growth). The trouble is that medicine can not distinguish between malignant and healthy cells; that’s why it also attacks the cells responsible for hair growth (among others).
Unfortunately, it’s not just the hair on the head that falls. Patients notice hair loss in the eyebrows, armpits, eyelashes and the rest of the body. It begins to happen two weeks (or even a month) after starting the treatment. It can be something very gradual, and it shows in combs, pillows or in the shower.
The positive side is that it will be a temporary symptom that can be handled with style – the hair will grow again, 3 or 6 months after treatment. For example, some women decide to shave before total hair loss to have a bit of control over what they can do to maintain their original image, such as acquiring wigs for ladies.
And after chemotherapy, what is needed is time and patience to recover the hair from before. At first, the new hair will look a bit different from the original: it may have a different texture or colour, but that’s because pigment cells also have to recover from chemotherapy. Eventually, all patients recover the hair they had before treatment.
Now, there are those who seek methods to prevent this side effect … none is effective. It is best to take some measures to manage hair loss. This helps minimize the anxiety of the process.
- Be gentle. Avoid dyes and permanents, hair care must be very calm before, during and after treatment. You have to use both combs and soft shampoos, and wash it only when necessary
- Protection. Protect your head from the weather with caps, hats, sunscreen (if necessary). Skull skin is sensitive to climate and temperature; that will always affect the health of the hair.
- Haircut. Short hair looks fuller than long hair. Then, if you notice the fall, give it a short style, to disguise the process.
When the treatment ends, do not forget to take care of your hair. Wash it every two or three days, with chemical-free products. Dry it with gentleness. protect it from the weather and, if a radiotherapy treatment is taken, it is better to ask the doctor when it is safe to use shampoos again.
In treatments against cancer, hair loss is inevitable, but you can face it however you feel more comfortable. The choice of shaving, covering or using a wig depends on your decision. It doesn’t matter what you choose, the key is that you focus your energy in your recovery.