Chemotherapy Treatments due to cancer. The word alone creates fear and confusion. Patients face not only the uncertainty of their disease, but also the anxiety of treatment – particularly hair loss.
The following info will assist in understanding why there may be hair loss from treatment.
Hair grows from the root, from the hair follicle, where a constant process of cell division occurs. Amino acids taken from blood feeding the follicle join with dividing cells, resulting in cell chains. Eventually these cell chains link up with one another, resulting in a long fiber. At this point, the nucleus of the original cell is dead, and the amino acids have formed into a hard keratin.
Keratin is a protein, and it is the substance our hair and nails are made from. It is a lifeless substance that results from the “pushing” of newly forming cells in the follicle. As the keratin protein is pushed out, our hair grows from the root. The growth of our hair follows a cyclical pattern that is one of the body’s most active “growing” processes: building shafts of hair for a period of time, and then resting.
Anticancer drug administration aims to reduce or stop this process. However, anticancer drugs act on both normal and cancerous cells, and are most likely to destroy cells that reproduce quickly. Hair follicles divide rapidly, which is why they are affected by chemotherapy. At any one time, about 85% of scalp hair follicles are reproducing.
Because a variety of drugs are used for chemotherapy treatment, hair loss depends upon the type prescribed and the dosage. Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, and except in rare instances, hair loss is temporary. When treatment is completed, the hair follicles will resume processing amino acids from your blood and creating new hair for you.
Hair loss from chemotherapy usually begins approximately 10-15 days after the first dose of chemotherapy, but sometimes it happens quicker. Hair loss is temporary and hair will grow back.
You will also find your scalp to be sensitive and dry, causing it to be itchy.
Don’t be surprised that the new hair will look slightly different. The texture may be very soft. the curl pattern aym be different and the colour may look different.
We carry products to assist you with your scalp and skin care during treatment. Go to our products menu for details.