Why does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

I had to wonder why the treatment caused his hair to fall out. Scientific research can help us understand the pathobiology of chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Researchers from the department of dermatology at Boston University and the Institute of Inflammation and Repair at the University of Manchester collaborated on a study to review chemotherapy-induced alopecia.

People lose their hair from chemotherapy because the treatment itself impairs hair growth on a cellular level, the researchers wrote. Chemotherapy also negatively impacts DNA-damage responses to hair growth. Essentially, chemotherapy treatment damages hair cells that are currently growing, and damage to the DNA causes it to tell the body to stop growing new hair.

Managing Chemotherapy-Induced #Alopecia

Because hair loss can be traumatic, as many as 8 percent of cancer patients opt-out ofchemotherapy treatment for their disease.

Making a decision to undergo chemotherapy treatment for cancer is a personal decision. Patients and families should understand the benefits and side effects of such a treatment before making that decision.

The Boston University and University of Manchester researchers suggest that people who choose to undergo chemotherapy treatment should consider seeking professional psychological counseling to help deal with the shock of losing hair.

They also suggest exploring wigs and other head coverings can be beneficial.

Tips for Dealing with Hair Loss

There are many options regarding hair loss for someone who decides to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

For example, when my father started losing his hair, he took the initiative to shave his head. He found the notion empowering. However, some people may want to make an effort to hang on to their hair a bit longer.

Many of these tips are also effective for people who have completed treatment and want to take care of their newly regrown hair:

  • Use the right hair products: Balch says using hair care products that contain irritants such as salicylic acid and henna can aggravate the scalp, cause further hair loss and deter regrowth.
  • Overstyling: Styling your hair while you are trying to hang on to it a little longer or nursing new growth can be detrimental to hair growth. Styling hair can also make it fall out faster for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
  • Changes in hair type: Some patients may find their new hair has a different texture from their pre-treatment hair. If this is your experience, you may want to consult with your stylist about specific advice on how you might care for your new hair.
  • Wigs: Some people use wigs temporarily while their hair regrows after treatment. Wigs are now available in an array of colors.

Most any treatment option has side effects.

Chemotherapy is proven to be effective in treating cancer, but the alopecia associated with it can be stressful. Understanding the options available to you can be the first step in making the decision to undergo treatment.

Alway remember that getting treatment and living is worth the temporary loss of your hair, the wigs today are amazing!

 

 

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