Before the Real Housewives were the Desperate Housewives; an award-winning US TV drama which ran for eight seasons from 2004-2012. Its stellar cast featured Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross as regal redhead, Bree Van de Kamp.
Whilst her co-stars have frequently popped up on TV and in the media since the final episode, Cross has been noticeably absent from the limelight. The reason, she recently revealed, is that she has been fighting anal cancer.
One particular aspect of her ordeal that she specifically wanted to discuss with her fans and followers, after confirming she is both healthy and happy, was the hair loss
she had experienced. Alongside a photo of her inch-long hair, the 56 year old posted to Instagram: 'Anyone else have #hairloss from #cancer? Talk to me. I feel you.'
In response to her post many cancer survivors shared their experiences of losing their hair during chemotherapy
Clearly Cross struck a chord, with this initial post about losing her hair during chemo receiving over 52,000 likes and more than 4,000 comments. Many simply wished her well, whilst others left touching personal messages regarding their own cancer battles and even stories of how husbands had chosen to shave their heads when their wives were undergoing chemo so they could be bald together.
The actor found the feedback overwhelming but exhilarating, following up with a statement posted as an image, which read, in part:
'After posting a picture of myself here #cancer and #hairloss, I felt liberated, deliriously free and completely me. How or why this simple act gave me such a powerful lift I did not question, but I thanked God or whatever gave me the internal push to move forward and expose myself'.
Hair regrowth after chemotherapy
The reason chemotherapy causes hair loss in many cases is because the drugs don't just target the cancer, they can also attack hair follicles. Whilst new preventative measures in the form of scalp cooling systems
, often known as cold caps, can be worn during chemo sessions to help chill the scalp to such low temperatures that it deters the drugs from reaching the scalp, these are not always available and cannot yet be used with all forms of treatment.
Generally normal hair regrowth will have resumed within 12 months of the final treatment session. However, sometimes patients may be surprised to find their hair returns a different colour or texture to their pre-cancer hair.
Hair has been known to grow back curly
and/or paler that previously following chemotherapy, but this is usually temporary, lasting a couple of hair growth cycles
before returning to its original state.