Many of the statistics associated with breast cancer in the United States are frightening. According to Susan G. Komen®, an estimated 39,620 women and 410 men will die from breast cancer this year. But on the bright side, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. A lot of progress has been made but there is still a long way to go.
Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign set up to increase the public’s awareness of the disease, takes place each October. But as we turn the calendar page to November, Hair Club wants to make sure you’re aware of the effects of cancer treatment all year long.
Cancer treatment is difficult, both mentally and physically. Chemotherapy can be especially hard on the mind and body. As you can imagine, Hair loss is a very difficult side effect of chemotherapy. Some types of chemotherapy, but not all, damage the cells in your body that cause hair to grow. Your doctor or nurse will be able to tell you if it’s something you should expect on your cancer treatment plan.
Hair usually begins to grow back two to three months after chemotherapy is over. New hair may be different than it used to be in terms of texture, thickness and color. It’s common for hair to grow back finer, curlier and grayer than it was before.
If you or someone you love is dealing with hair loss associated with chemotherapy, keep these tips in mind as you work toward a speedy recovery.
1. Ask questions. Your doctors and nurses should know how likely you are to lose your hair based on your particular treatment. They’ve helped many patients in your shoes—use them as a resource to talk about your feelings and express any concerns.
2. Go short. Cutting your hair short or shaving your head before you lose your hair may make you feel more in control of your hair loss and make the inevitable feel a little bit easier. If you do decide to shave your head, opt for an electric shaver instead of a regular razor.
3. Be gentle. When it comes to washing your hair, choose mild shampoo such as a baby shampoo. Dry your hair by gently patting it with a soft towel as opposed to rubbing it or blow-drying. Try to avoid items that can irritate your scalp like hot tools, hair dye, hair sprays and hair elastics and clips.
4. Keep covered. During and after hair loss, your scalp may hurt. Covering it with a hat or scarf will protect it and also help you stay warm. If you’re not covered up, be sure to apply sunscreen when you’re going outside.
5. Switch to satin. Try sleeping on a satin pillowcase instead of cotton. Satin creates less friction than cotton so it could be more comfortable.
Do you have any tips for those dealing with hair loss as a result of chemo? Leave a comment below.