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Chemotherapy drugs are powerful, their job is to kill fast growing cells and eliminate fast growing cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can prevent the proliferation, infiltration, and metastasis of cancer cells at different stages of cancer cell growth. However, chemotherapy drugs haven't found a way to solely target cancer cells, so they also attack other fast growing cells in the human body, such as the hair follicles.
Fast growing hair follicle cells are damaged by the chemotherapy drugs. Hair follicles on top of the head are usually the fastest growing hair follicles which is why hair loss happens in this area. Around 90% of hair will fall off. The hair loss is temporary and will grow back after chemotherapy. Hair loss in varying degrees can also happen in different parts of the scalp, face, limbs, underarms and pubic regions.
It's worth mentioning that different doses of chemotherapy and different treatment plans can cause different hair loss results, with some people not experiencing hair loss at all. Speak to your doctor to find out what you can expect.
Chemotherapy does not usually cause severe hair loss straight away. It usually occurs about 2 to 4 weeks after the start of chemotherapy. It can affect people differently. You may find that your hair is gradually thinning and then falling off in handfuls. You may also find that a large areas of hair is falling off, and that the remaining hair is not shiny and is dryer than usual. Many people like to shave their heads when they lose their hair to regain back a feeling of control.
Hair loss from chemotherapy drugs is temporary. This kind of hair loss is reversible, just like a beard, it will grow back when it is removed. At the end of chemotherapy, as the hair follicles gradually return to normal, the hair will gradually start to grow out in 1-2 months. After half a year or a year, the hair usually returns to its original texture. Many people find comfort in wearing wigs for cancer patients or comfortable scarves and hats as their hair returns.
DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare professional with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.