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Common Side Effects

Hair Loss

Why does chemotherapy cause hair loss?

Chemotherapy damages rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells. Some healthy cells also divide rapidly, such as hair follicles. Chemotherapy damages these cells, leading to hair loss, also called alopecia.

What will happen?

Hair loss will typically begin two or three weeks after your first treatment. In addition to hair on your head, you may lose eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, pubic hair, underarm hair and leg hair. The amount of hair that you lose will depend on the type of chemotherapy drug you are taking. Hair typically begins to grow back approximately 2-3 weeks after treatment is finished. The hair may grow back differently than it was before treatment. For example color or texture (curly or straight) may be different.

What can be done to cope with hair loss?

Importantly, you should remember that hair loss associated with chemotherapy is temporary and the hair WILL grow back. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you cope with the loss:

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