Unfortunately, there is still no cure for mesothelioma. However, the good news is that several mesothelioma treatment options exist. One of the mesothelioma treatments is chemotherapy. This treatment option involves using chemicals to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing back. However, chemo is not for everyone. When deciding whether chemotherapy is a good option for a mesothelioma patient, doctors consider, among other things, cell type, tumor location, and the patient’s general health.
While chemotherapy is an effective mesothelioma treatment, side effects are common. Some side effects of chemo are minor, whereas others are severe. Sometimes, side effects are temporary, and other times, permanent. One of the common side effects of chemotherapy that can be either temporary or permanent is hair loss. However, most patients experience temporary hair loss. Hair loss can be distressing to a mesothelioma patient, whether temporary or permanent. Hair loss can make a patient feel self-conscious, vulnerable, and exposed. Hair loss can even result in feelings of depression and anger. Below, we discuss how chemotherapy causes hair loss and how to cope with chemo-related hair loss.
How Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?
Chemotherapy drugs target fast-growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these medications also attack other rapidly growing cells in the body, including hair cells. When chemo drugs attack hair cells, hair loss may happen. Usually, hair loss will begin within two to three weeks after a patient starts chemotherapy treatment and progresses over the following months.
Chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss on the scalp. Some medications can also cause hair loss in other parts of the body. Some chemo drugs cause loss of pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, underarm hair, arm hair, and leg hair. Fortunately, hair often begins growing back even before a patient is done with treatment.
It is vital to note that not all mesothelioma patients undergoing chemotherapy lose hair. Additionally, the extent of hair loss varies depending on various factors.
How To Cope With Chemo-Related Hair Loss
Dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment is hard. Losing hair when undergoing chemotherapy is bound to make matters worse. It can help to remember that, in most cases, hair grows back. The following are some other ways to cope with chemo-related hair loss;
- Be gentle on your hair: To slow down hair loss, use a mild and gentle shampoo and a soft-bristle hairbrush. Also, be gentle with eyebrows and eyelashes, which may also be affected.
- Consider cutting your hair: If the thought of losing your hair is scary, you can consider cutting your hair short or shaving your head.
- Consider head coverings: You can get a wig or another head covering, such as a hat, scarf, turban, or head wrap.
- Avoid irritants: To slow down hair loss, avoid coloring, perming, or chemically straightening your hair. It is also best to avoid heat. For example, you may want to avoid using a hair dryer, curling iron, electric rollers, or flat iron.
- Protect your hair: For example, wear a hair net when sleeping to prevent hair from coming out in clumps.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.