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Thread: Chemotherapy, hair loss and hair re-growth

  1. #1
    Master
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    Chemotherapy, hair loss and hair re-growth

    Hi all,

    Hope everyone's well.

    A close family member has recently had a double mastectomy after she was found to have breast cancer. After further biopsies, they've now recommended chemotherapy, and she's devastated. Obviously life is precious and she appreciates what this treatment will do for her, but as a woman who takes huge pride in her beauty, the thought of losing her hair is absolutely destroying her confidence etc.

    The NHS will giver her cold cap treatment which will hopefully help, but it is by no means any kind of guarantee that she'll keep her hair without patches of baldness etc. Speaking to her over the past week, she's been looking in to hair loss companies. I know she's trying to avoid being suckered in, but so often, these companies market themselves heavily and just show the odd success story. Then you read reviews and there's very mixed results. It's a bit of a minefield.

    There seems to be something called an Interlace system which a few companies are offering, but one for example, is charging £5000 and they've just shown her some results photos on their phone. It all seems a bit like an advanced version of getting your nails done or hair extensions to me. Beautiful premises, multiple staff but no real idea of what the treatment will bring should she go ahead and spend a fortune.

    So I wondered if anybody on here can offer advice. Maybe you've been through similar, or maybe you have some kind of links to this industry? I expect there are no miracle cures, but anything out there that could help would be a major step forward in helping her mentally right now.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Master
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    A very close friend of the family completed a chemo course last year Wayne, she spent around a year through the treatment wearing wigs (quite expensive but very convincing - apart from her bright blue one...) but after chemo finished her hair started to grow back very quickly. It's very curly and very fine - almost like a childs early growth I'd say as a comparison - but gradually going back to how it was originally. It's not patchy and she's over the moon after having similar tales of doom before her treatment.

    No two cases will be alike I guess but in my limited experience I'd wait until after the treatment before making rash decisions involving thousands of pounds. I think personally I'd be a bit worried that an implant system could interfere with any natural regrowth afterwards.

  3. #3
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Like Kev says, a wig will be a much more affordable option in the interim until the hair grows back, my mum did this and had a great attitude with it and had Ďfuní experimenting with different wig styles. Good luck to your friend, cancer is a bastard.

    Iím sure there are support groups that can help with your friends confidence, sheís not alone and the quality of wigs is pretty amazing these days.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    A friend of mine went through this. She opted to forget the caps and wigs and show what she was going through. A different kind of beautiful I suppose and probably not for everyone, but I admired her bravery. Sorry if this is not helpful.

  5. #5
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    Definitely a wig. My MiL shaved all her's off for cancer charity. She got a wig and you couldn't tell if it was real or not. Looked excellent.

  6. #6
    Master mickylall's Avatar
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    My Mrs is going through this at the minute, similar to your friend she had long hair and wouldnít leave the house without makeup and hair being immaculate. She tried the cold cap but her hair started falling out within days of her first chemo session, I thought that this wouldíve been a terrible knock to her confidence at the worst time possible but she shaved the lot off and really suited it, it still fell out eventually but now she just doesnít care. She bought two wigs which look very convincing but she hardly bothers with them.
    On the other hand her friend went through chemo at the same time , used the cold cap and she kept all her thick , curly hair .
    Mrsí hair has started growing back within a couple of weeks of her last session but as previously mentioned itís very fine like baby hair.
    The cold cap doesnít sound like much fun at all and adds a couple of hours to each treatment so my Mrs binned it as soon as she realised it wasnít working for her
    I wish your friend all the best in her treatment and recovery, having friends and family round her will be a massive boost when she needs it most

  7. #7
    Master Qatar-wol's Avatar
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    Lots of sensible advice here, Wayne, and everyone's journey will be different.

    When my wife was going through chemo, and her hair started to fall out, she bought a number of wigs - some staid, some crazy and fun - and then we as a family went and had our heads shaved, all the same time. (To be fair, our daughter didn't but my son and I did.) Turns out, my wife had a good-shaped head, and rocked the short-hair look. And yes, it grew back curly, initially, but it was fun and funky and part of the journey.

    My wife even had henna applied to the bald skin for a while, which looked great.

    Here's my daughter trying on one of my wife's wigs.



    And my wife having the henna applied.


  8. #8
    As noted, wigs can be very good these days.

    The NHS may fund one, but the genuine human hair ones from a specialist maker are excellent. They withstand washing well, and I think they even look a bit better afterwards - more natural, realistic, less coiffed.

    Good luck with everything.

  9. #9

    Chemotherapy, hair loss and hair re-growth

    I had chemo 15 years ago for testicular cancer that had metastasised. It is also difficult for a man to as it doesnít look like you have gone bald, it looks like you are seriously ill and gone bald.

    The comfort I took was that is what the chemo is doing to my fast growing hair cells it must be doing a good job on the cancer cells.

    It is only temporary. I lost my early in the second cycle if I recall correctly and then it started to regrow a few weeks after the last cycle.

    I would treat it as a small blip in the road. Embrace it. I found there was no need to hide it. Maybe easier to say as a man. Just wear a hat to keep your head warm when needed.

    All the very best to your family member. Time is the greatest healer.

  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    Chemo

    Had a friend who went through chemo, she had a full head of long thick hair beforehand, during treatment she went through phases of (very good) wigs, head scarves, Sinead O'conner look (I find it very sexy on some women) but in time it all grew back as black and as thick as before and you'd now never know she underwent the treatment.

  11. #11
    Master Rinaldo1711's Avatar
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    My sister in law is receiving chemo for breast cancer and she’s been wearing a wig. Looks ok but she will only wear it outside the house : finds it a bit warm and not terribly comfortable.

  12. #12

    Chemotherapy, hair loss and hair re-growth

    Whichever road she takes letís just hope she comes out the other side
    The most awful of diseases that has taken so much good from my life in the way of family losses
    In my prayers and Iím sure the wig route could be made entertaining - though not for everybody feeling current devastation if has that level of beauty regime
    Good luck


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Master
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    Thank you all so much for the responses. A lot of great advice; I really appreciate it. Iíll read through everything and condense it for her.

  14. #14
    I had my chemo 5 years ago for a secondary from testicular cancer. 9 weeks of pure hell. A week into the treatment I was having a shower and went to wash my hair and half of it just fell off my head, with losing the rest the following day. It wasn't just on my head either, and I'll leave it at that point.

    Men can and are just as vain as the ladies, and I hid under a baseball cap for the duration and after.

    When my hair grew back, it was quick and it was also just like a baby's hair. Soft and fine, but give it a few months and it was back to normal.

    The weird thing is chemo behaves differently for everyone who has to endure it.

    Please tell your friend that she's not alone, she has all sorts of people to support her. I found comfort talking to strangers, as I was and still do to some extent know that once that conversation has finished, I might never see them again. For me it was all about just letting it out.

  15. #15
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Hair usually grows back after chemotherapy ... wearing a wig until hair regrows could save a fortune being spent at hair clinics.

    Former GF has alopecia and spent £'000s at hair clinics with repeated treatments. She eventually realised there was no lasting remedy and started buying wigs; she now has a selection of wigs and wears different styles / colours according to her mood. The alopecia did not bother me ...her smoking was more of a problem which was why I 'split' but we are still friends.

    Another close friend is African and she deliberately cuts her hair extremely short ... the short 'crew cut' suits her ... she sometimes colours it blue ... and she has a selection of wigs; the wigs suit her and look natural ... and if we go out and pass a store selling wigs she'll spend half an hour weighing up the latest designs ... wigs are part of her persona ... as they are for many ladies. Hair clinics are very happy to take £000's from their clients and tell them how beautiful they look ... they have to soft talk them into having more treatments ... Fine if the ladies can afford same ... but far more cost effective to buy a wig(s).

    Afia's wigs:



















    Last edited by sundial; 19th September 2021 at 11:25.
    "After a certain age you got the face you deserve I think" ... Henri Cartier-Bresson

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