Cancer the name given to a condition whereby cells in the body rapidly grow and reproduce uncontrollably. These cancerous cells destroy surrounding tissue, including organs and skin tissue.
Do you lose hair from cancer?
You do not lose hair as a direct result of cancer. Instead, hair loss is caused by the treatments used to cure cancer, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, or bone marrow/stem cell transplants.
Once the treatments have finished, the hair will normally grow back. The exception to this is for radiotherapy treatments, which can sometimes result in the hair not growing back in the treated area.
What type of cancer causes hair loss?
There are very few types of cancer that directly cause hair loss. If your hair is thinning, you may be experiencing Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Consult your GP if you suspect this is the case.
Do all cancer treatments cause hair loss?
Not all cancer treatments cause hair loss. Chemotherapy is well known for causing hair loss, but this is not always the case. Other cancer therapies can cause hair loss, although usually, it is quite mild.
Chemotherapy, the most well-known cancer treatment, is also the most likely to cause hair loss. Chemotherapy does not always cause hair loss, and in some cases, it may only cause slight thinning of the hair.
Hair loss as a result of chemotherapy can happen to any hair on the body, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, underarms, body, leg and sometimes pubic hair.
Other cancer treatments can also cause hair loss, but this is usually quite mild and is often not noticeable. Small numbers of people who undergo hormonal therapy for cancer may experience hair loss, but this usually starts within a few months to a year after starting the treatment. It usually does not cause complete hair loss, and instead causes the hair to thin somewhat.
How much hair do you lose during chemotherapy?
The amount of hair lost during chemotherapy varies from person to person and relies on a number of different factors. Even people taking the same drugs for the same cancer will have a different amount of hair loss.
Factors that will determine how much hair is lost during chemotherapy include the type of drugs you are taking, as well as the dosage of those drugs and how they are delivered into the body, i.e. as a pill, into a vein, or on the skin.
How quickly do you lose hair with chemo?
Hair loss during chemotherapy is gradual, rather than sudden. If you are going to experience hair loss, it will usually begin within 2 to 3 weeks after chemotherapy treatments start.