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Video:Preparing for Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss

with Linde Balderas & Suzanne Smith

Chemotherapy-induced hair loss can be a difficult side effect of cancer treatment, especially for women. Here are some ways to help prepare you for hair loss while undergoing chemotherapy.See Transcript

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Transcript:Preparing for Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss

Are you about to start Chemotherapy? Hi, I’m Linde Balderas. Hi, I’m Suzanne Smith for About.com and we are here to help you prepare for chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

About four months ago, I heard those life changing words; “You have breast cancer" and am currently undergoing chemotherapy.

I am a breast cancer survivor and I finished chemotherapy about three years ago.

Chemotherapy drugs attack the fast growing cells in your body like your cancer cells. Unfortunately they also attack good cells like red blood cells, white blood cells and the fast growing hair cells. Typically, but depending on the drugs you’re taking, hair will start to thin or fall out within the first few weeks of treatment. For me, it was 17 days as my oncologist predicted.

Transitioning Hairstyle for Chemotherapy

There are many approaches you can take when you know your going to lose your hair. I had really long, thick hair and I chose to do my haircut in stages. Before I started chemotherapy, I had my first hair cut and I cut it about half-way in a “bob” and then right before I started chemo, I cut again and then when it started to fall out, I finally shaved my head.I took a little bit of a different approach knowing there were so many aspects of having cancer I didn’t have any control over, I knew one thing I could control was when I went bald.

So, before I even started chemotherapy I had my family help me and I shaved my head completely. This way I did not have to worry about hair coming out in the shower or it falling out on my pillow every morning.

Wigs and Head Covering for Cancer Patients

Something to consider before you lose your hair is whether or not you’re going to wear a wig. If you do decide to do that, do it before you lose your hair so that you can match your natural hair color and style. Be sure to contact your local American Cancer Society office because will provide fittings and wigs free of charge. If I wear anything on my head at all, I like to wear scarves. I really enjoyed shopping for my collection of scarves. I wear winter hats also and sometimes caps. I wore caps and scarves also and my mom had knitted me a cap in every color and I also wore scarves but most of the time, I didn’t wear anything at all.

Total Hair Loss is Possible

I prefer not to wear anything most days also. Remember if you do choose to be like this that you put sunscreen on your head. At night, if I’m cold, I wear a snug fitting beanie on my head also. Be prepared that you’ll more than likely lose all your hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. I didn’t realize how much they helped in keeping things from getting in your eyes.

Finally, I just want to say that it’s OK to mourn the loss of your hair. Especially for us women, it can be very emotional to lose your hair so it’s OK to be sad and as you can see, it will grow back.My hair started growing back about six weeks after my last chemo and within about four months, I had a full head of hair and although it’s a little thinner now than it used to be, I’m finally getting my old hairstyle back.We hope you found these tips helpful and for more information, visit us on the web at Cancer.About.Com

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