Author: Sarah Belgravia
Irish teenager, Naomi Brosnan refuses to let hair loss from cancer treatment hold her back from her dreams of being a beauty queen, and recently entered a local pageant.
The 17-year-old from Kerry was diagnosed with stage four Burkitt lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system – in November last year. She started an aggressive course of chemotherapy the following day.
But Naomi didn’t let the subsequent hair loss stop her from putting herself forward in the county’s annual beauty pageant. She told the Irish Independent: “I was lying in my hospital bed one night, completely bald and feeling I looked like a boy and my friend Samantha Roche asked me if I’d enter it with her”.
In order to enter the Miss Kerry competition, Naomi decided to wear a wig – something that many people with or recovering from cancer choose to do as they wait for their hair to regrow.
Hair loss and cancer
Chemotherapy and radiation are the two most common forms of cancer treatment and can both trigger the shedding of hair. The drugs that attack cancer cells often kill healthy cells along the way, including hair follicles.
Those undergoing chemotherapy may be offered scalp cooling treatments using a cold cap. This method is thought to slow down hair loss during cancer treatment by restricting blood flow to the scalp. Although blood flow is usually important for healthy hair growth, during chemo this transports the harmful drugs to the hair follicles.
For most cancer patients, hair growth usually resumes within a year of their treatment ending, so Naomi may well see her hair regrow naturally. However, for some patients the hair follicles are too damaged to recover, so their hair loss may remain even after treatment has finished.
Despite not winning the ‘Miss Kerry’ title, Naomi is already well on her way to feeling like her former self again. She says donning a wig and getting dressed up for the competition has helped to restore her confidence. The teen now hopes to set up a support group for teenagers with cancer after she finishes school next year.
The 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.