Drugs that damage or destroy cancer cells also affect normal cells and may cause certain side effects. Rapidly dividing cells, such as hair follicle cells, are the most affected. This is why hair loss is a common side effect of cancer treatment. However, this is temporary, and hair growth resumes when you stop taking the drugs or the dose is reduced.
Side effects do not always happen and can be different for each patient, depending on the drug(s), amount of drug, length of treatment, how each patient reacts, and the presence of other health problems.
6 Ways to Cope with Hair Loss
- Wash your hair and scalp every few days, using a mild, moisturizing shampoo.
- Comb your hair to prevent tangles during periods of hair loss. Drugs that affect the hair shaft will cause hair to fall out whether or not it is combed.
- If you have long hair, consider getting a short haircut or shaving your head before hair loss begins.
- If you're planning to buy a wig, cut some locks of your hair so your natural color and texture can be matched more easily.
- Wear a bandanna, hat or scarf to keep your head warm if you choose not to wear a wig.
- Apply mineral oil to your scalp to ease dryness.