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How can I deal with hair loss during cancer treatment?

One common side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss (alopecia). Special circumstances such as radiation treatments to the head area may cause hair loss. In both cases, hair will usually grow back after the treatments are over. This is a temporary side effect, but it causes angry or depressed feelings in many cancer patients. If possible, share these thoughts with other cancer patients who have had a similar experience.

Some home care suggestions to keep your scalp healthy during treatments:
  • Use mild shampoos
  • Avoid brush rollers, dying, perming, or relaxing your hair
  • Always use the low heat setting on the hair dryer
  • Use sunscreen/block to protect your scalp if you lose your hair
  • Use satin pillow cases on your pillows
Some people decide to cover their heads with wigs, hairpieces, hats, turbans, and scarves. If you choose a wig, here are some helpful hints that you might want to follow:
  • Purchase your wig before you lose all of your hair. You can then match the color and styles that you would prefer to wear. Your hairstylist can cut and style your wig to match your current hairstyle.
  • Remember to ask your doctor for a "prescription" for your wig or hairpiece. Many insurance companies will cover the expense. It also is a tax-deductible expense.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.