Chemotherapy works by killing rapidly dividing cells—both “good” and “bad” (cancerous) ones. The unpleasant side effects from chemo come from the type and amount of chemo you are given. The most common side effects from chemo include hair thinning or loss, nausea, and mouth sores. These areas (hair follicles; stomach and mouth lining) are areas of rapid cell growth.
Here are some tips to help you move through the side effects of hair loss:
Hair loss isn’t always a side effect of chemo. Your medical team will be able to tell you what you can expect with your treatment.
Cancer, or hair loss is not your identity. It doesn’t change who you are.
Before your first chemo, you may want to get a short haircut. Approximately three days after your second chemo you’ll begin to lose hair. You may want a loving friend or family member to shave your head. I went my mom’s hair stylist who’d had breast cancer. When I left, I felt I had the tiger by its tail. I was in control; not cancer.
Try on wigs, scarves, hats, turbans. If you decide not to cover your head at all, wear sunscreen.
If you want to wear a wig the same color as your hair, look for wigs before hair loss. Try them on, but don’t buy one while you have hair. It may not fit when you don’t have hair.
Your hair will grow back—typically 1-2 months after your last chemo treatment. My eyebrows were the last to leave, and first to come back.
What works/worked for you?