Chemotherapy can affect hair growth: sometimes hair becomes thinner and in some people it falls out completely. Any hair loss from chemotherapy is almost always temporary.
Many people see their hair as an important part of their appearance, and are worried that a different appearance might affect their relationships with family and friends.
Hair loss may make you feel less confident, vulnerable and exposed, especially if you feel forced to tell people about your cancer diagnosis when you do not wish to do so.
Talking is important to cope with hair loss, both practically and emotionally. Some people find it easier to talk to someone they don’t know, or to a cancer support specialist, others to fellow patients who already went through hair loss. The latter can often give helpful advice and personal hints on how they have coped with the issue.
Possible alternatives or solutions to hair loss are:
- hats, turbans, scarves.
- professional haircuts and hair products can help in the regrowth phase.
Websites on this topic:
Chemo-induced hair loss: prevention of a distressing side-effect.
McGowan D. Br J Nurs. 2013 May 23-Jun 12;22(10):S12
Cancer and stigma: experience of patients with chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
Rosman S. Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Mar;52(3):333-9.
'My wig has been my journey's companion': perceived effects of an aesthetic care programme for Italian women suffering from chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
Zannini L, Verderame F, Cucchiara G, Zinna B, Alba A, Ferrara M. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2007 Dec;11(5):385-91. Epub 2007 May 18.
Anticipating an altered appearance: women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.
Frith H, Harcourt D, Fussell A. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2007 Dec;11(5):385-91. Epub 2007 May 18.