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Can Hair Loss from Cancer Drugs Be Treated?


Paxman Scalp Cooling Cold Cap to Help Prevent Hair Loss During ChemotherapyWhen cancer is diagnosed, there a million and one things that a person will be thinking and feeling. When it comes to treatment and the challenging side effects involved, hair loss is often a worry for many. As recently reported on the Belgravia blog, new cold cap machines are being made available for some cancer patients that will help to prevent hair loss.

Twenty-one scalp cooling machines are to be installed at St James’s Institute of Oncology in Leeds, one of the largest specialist cancer treatment centres in the UK. These machines will help reduce the damage to hair follicles caused by chemotherapy drugs and make hair loss less severe or even prevent it.

How Does Cancer Treatment Cause Hair Loss?

Chemotherapy and radiation are two forms of cancer treatment that can lead to hair loss. Chemotherapy involves pumping powerful drugs through the body to attack the cancer cells. In doing so, these drugs often kill the healthy cells that make up the hair follicle. Radiation involves shining high-energy rays on the cancer cells to destroy them. This only causes hair loss when the treatment is used on the scalp.

The extent of hair loss that results from these treatments varies between patients. The hair loss can occur just on the scalp or over the entire body, it may be just patchy or it may lead to complete baldness. It may happen suddenly or the hair can shed in patches over a number of weeks. Hair loss that is caused by chemotherapy usually appears one to two weeks after treatment has started. Radiation, on the other hand, usually causes immediate hair loss.

Will Hair Regrow After Cancer Treatment?

For about 80 – 90 % of cancer patients who have undergone treatment, the hair will re-grow within a year of finishing therapy. Senior hair loss specialist at The Belgravia Centre, Leonora Doclis, says, “A hair loss treatment programme may benefit some adults but they are not suitable for children. It depends on the state of the hair follicles. Sometimes they are shriveled after cancer treatment and to what extent treatment will help, depends on how shriveled they are.” Doclis advises a consultation with a specialist to discuss how professional regrowth regimes may help but emphasises that any treatment being considered must be discussed with the patient’s doctor beforehand.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

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