Concerned About Hair Loss From Chemotherapy: What Are My Options?

Being concerned about hair loss from chemotherapy is a fairly common refrain from those about to begin chemo to treat cancer. Since you already know that certain chemotherapy drugs can cause severe hair loss, it is a good time to ask questions.

Asking the Right Questions

When you are going through cancer treatment of any kind, asking questions and being clear on what is about to happen (or could happen) is the best way to be prepared. The last thing you need are surprises on this journey.

Talk with our board-certified medical oncologists about the likelihood of hair loss. Certain drugs are more apt to cause complete hair loss compared to others. If the answer is to get prepared to lose your hair, now you know how to proceed to get ahead of the inevitable.

It becomes obvious to the world that you have cancer when you lose your hair. How much do you want the world to know is a question only you can answer. So what are your options?

Dealing With Hair Loss Caused By Cancer Treatment

For some, their hair reflects their personality and how they are presented to the world. You will quickly need to suppress those thoughts and deal with reality. You may lose hair on your head and elsewhere on the body like the face, eyelashes, eyebrows, arm hair, underarms, legs, and pubic hair. However, not everyone loses their hair or all of it. It depends on the drugs used and you.

For most, hair loss is a temporary side effect, and within a few months after treatment, your hair will regrow. The texture and other changes may occur but they should also be temporary.

There are options available to hide hair loss or to try to reduce the extent.

  • Wigs and hair coverings like scarves and hats are a popular choice. Talk with your care team about getting insurance coverage for a wig.
  • Baby your hair as soon as you know what to expect. Refrain from using heat-styling products and let it air dry. Wash your hair only when necessary.
  • You may cut your hair since shorter hair is less noticeable, and it will look fuller and not flat on your head like longer hair.
  • Be sure to use sunscreen when out in warm or cold weather in addition to a scarf.

Treatments for Hair Loss Caused By Chemotherapy

New Jersey Cancer Care, PA offers treatment options at our office in Belville, NJ to reduce hair loss caused by cancer treatment.

Scalp Hypothermia (DigniCap)

An FDA-cleared device called DigniCap is placed on your head during chemo. Scalp cooling is an effective approach to reduce chemo hair loss. The reduced temperature results in less blood flow to the scalp so less chemo reaches the hair follicles, roots, and cells. 

Rogaine (Minoxidil)

Minoxidil is another possible choice that will help increase hair growth after treatment. It is applied to your scalp before chemo.

The good news is that hair loss is temporary. In the meantime, splurge on new makeup and some new clothes to perk up your style. Take care of your nails and skin during this time to distract from areas you prefer others not to focus on.

You are still you regardless of how your outward appearance has changed. Tell yourself that every single day when you look in the mirror. Contact our board-certified medical oncologists at (973) 751-8880 with any questions or concerns about hair loss from chemotherapy.