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Fighting breast cancer is already a huge struggle that makes you a warrior. But while you’re fighting a disease, realizing the effects of breast cancer treatment on your hair will be one of the things you have to deal with. It’s normal to be worried about your hair loss and feel anxious about the changes that come with chemotherapy. But we’re here to help you understand how breast cancer treatment will impact hair loss and how to grow your hair back after breast cancer:
How long does it take to grow back post breast cancer?
The good news is that you can expect your hair to grow back within 3-6 months after chemotherapy. However, you could find that it has a slightly different shade or texture. While some breast cancer patients can experience some thin, fuzzy hair after their last chemotherapy session, signs of real hair can start to appear within 4-6 weeks. Just keep in mind that it could take a little longer as chemotherapy does not leave the body or stop attacking the healthy cells straight away. This stops the hair from growing back immediately.
Here’s a timeline of what to expect when it comes to hair growth after breast cancer treatment:
- 3-4 weeks: Light, fuzzy hair
- 4-6 weeks: Signs of thicker hair may start to appear.
- 2-3 months: An inch of hair starts to grow in some places.
- 3-6 months: 2-3 inches of hair can start to grow to cover bald patches.
- 12 months: Hair could grow to almost 4-6 inches long and will start to be at a length where you can brush or style it.
This study shows results of 1,470 people and how breast cancer treatment affected their hair growth:
- The average duration of hair regrowth was 3.3 months after treatment stopped.
- Hair started regrowing before the end of treatment in almost 13%.
- Less than 0.5% reported that hair didn’t start to grow back until 6 months after breast cancer treatment.
Why does the hair fall out during breast cancer treatment?
Because chemotherapy is one of the main treatments of breast cancer, it attacks the dividing cells in hopes of stopping the cancerous cells from spreading. In the process, it also destroys healthy cells which control hair growth. However, how much hair you lose will depend on the type of drugs prescribed during your breast cancer treatment.
How to reduce hair from falling out during breast cancer treatments
While these methods do not work for everyone, it is definitely worth a shot. A process known as scalp cooling, which involves covering the head with ice packs can reduce the blood flow to your head and help reduce the chemo drugs from reaching the hair cells.
There are two cold caps that have been FDA approved to prevent hair from falling out which are DigniCap and Paxman cold caps. According to BreastCancer.org, these caps have a 50-65% of effectiveness in preventing hair from falling out.
There are also some drugs that could help speed up the process of regrowth after breast cancer such as minoxidil. However, it is essential that you speak to your doctors about the possibility of using them and their effectiveness first.
- 7 Breast Cancer Symptoms You Don’t Know About
- 3 Cairo Centers Offering Free Breast Cancer Screening
- At What Age Can You Start Developing Breast Cancer?
Sources used in this article:
- When does hair grow back after chemo? – Medical News Today
- A multicenter survey of temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients – Pub Med
- Hair regrowth after chemo – What to expect? – Healthline
- When your hair grows back – BReastcancernow.org