Breast cancer and hair

 

Some cancer treatments can cause hair loss. These treatments often damage the cells that help hair grow and affect hair all over the body, causing alopecia as a side effect. It should be noted that this fall does not always occur, and that the best way to find out if it is likely to happen is to consult with the oncology team to see if your treatment plan can cause alopecia.

This hair loss is different in each person. In some cases it falls very quickly, in others slowly and sometimes it only affects part of the hair, and it depends a lot on the treatment we undergo. Next we are going to tell you a little about how to make the hair flourish with the different therapies:

Chemotherapy:

Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, but these cancer-treating drugs are the most likely to cause alopecia and thinning hair. In these cases, the hair does not usually fall out immediately. It normally tends to take between 1 or 2 months, which means several cycles of treatment, for the hair to fall out. The amount of hair lost depends on the drug, the dose and the form. Hair generally grows back 2 to 3 months after treatment ends, but it usually takes 6 months to a year for it to grow back completely.  When the hair reappears, we usually notice that it is finer, rougher, dryer and duller. In some cases we can notice that it is curlier, and it may even have changed colour. 

Radiotherapy:

In the case of radiotherapy, hair loss is usually only altered on the part of the body at which the radiation is directed. How much hair falls out depends on the dose and the method of radiotherapy, and although the hair normally grows back after several months, if the doses applied are very high, it may not grow back at all.

Targeted therapy:

In the case of targeted therapy, what we usually observe is that this does not cause complete hair loss, but it does tend to make the hair finer, curlier and, above all, drier than usual. 

Hormone therapy: 

Hormonal therapies are sometimes used to fight cancer, and this type of treatment does not usually cause complete hair loss, but it does cause the hair to become thinner. However, this change is not usually caused at the beginning of treatment. It usually occurs several months after starting treatment. 

How can you take care of your hair when it starts to grow back?

Keep in mind that when the hair grows back, its texture will be a little rougher and its strand finer. For these reasons it is very important to pamper and care for your hair to ensure that it grows in healthy and beautiful. The following TIPS can be very useful. 

Try to apply moisturising masks a minimum of 2 times a week. Tasmania Mask is ideal. Remember to leave it on for 20 minutes.

Gently massage the scalp to remove any small skin flakes that may appear. 

After finishing treatment, try to avoid dyes for at least 3 months.

In the case of straightening treatments, the ideal is to wait between 6 and 12 months, so that the hair has a certain length and has regained a little strength. 

Remember always to use conditioner, since the hair is weaker and can break more easily when you are untangling it. 

Don’t forget to apply a few drops of Cotton Lust to provide an extra dose of shine to the hair, since it’s normal for it to look dull after treatment.

Important: 

This hair loss can be a challenge on a physical level, but also emotionally. That’s why there are specialised palliative care teams, also called “supportive care” teams. These specific groups help all patients learn how to manage and control the side effects of cancer and its different treatments.  Be brave, don’t be afraid to ask for help: these are normal processes and there are many people who have gone through them. Even talking to people who have had the same problems as you can be very useful.