Hair loss (alopecia)

Hair loss commonly occurs from cancer treatments. Chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and stem cell transplant can all cause hair loss because these treatments damage the cells that make hair grow. Most of the time the hair will grow back, although it may remain thin. It usually takes from six to 12 months for the hair to grow back, and it may be slightly changed in thickness and in colour.

Hair loss can be devastating for your self-esteem, which is why it is important to prepare yourself before it happens. Some people recommend that you should have it cut short before beginning treatment because it might make it easier when your hair starts to fall out. Likewise, it is important to talk about it with your support network or a family member. Expressing the fears and anxiety that hair loss produces will make it easier to accept if it does happen.

If you choose to wear a wig or a hair piece, it might be useful to find a specialized store that works with cancer patients. Note that it is always easier to match your own hair if you shop for the wig before your hair falls out.