Author: Sarah Belgravia
Beating cancer is a huge achievement and relief for many, but this may be marred somewhat for those left with persistent hair loss from chemotherapy.
People who lose their hair during chemotherapy generally see it return to its pre-chemo state within around 12 months of finishing their treatment course. However, as the recent US class action lawsuit regarding the effects of Taxotere – a chemotherapy drug which causes permanent baldness – has brought to the fore, this is not the case for everyone.
A report published in the JAMA Dermatology journal explains the quality of life associated with persistent postchemotherapy alopecia.
Hair growth helped emotional toll
A large-scale, multi-centre review of 192 women experiencing persistent chemotherapy-induced alopecia (pCIA) or endocrine therapy-induced alopecia following chemotherapy (EIAC) examined these individuals’ quality of life, using the Hairdex questionnaire.
Their response to appropriate hair loss treatment was also assessed.
Persistent chemotherapy-induced alopecia was found to often be “more severe and diffuse” compared with EIAC. However, negative quality of life feelings were recorded in both groups. Mild to moderate improvements to these scores were registered following hair loss treatment.
The treatment comprised topical minoxidil – currently a dose-dependent hair loss solution MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for the treatment of the genetic conditions, Male and Female Pattern Baldness – either on its own or when used alongside orally-administered spironolactone.
Researchers concluded the report, by suggesting “Additional studies are warranted to develop effective strategies for prevention and effective therapy for pCIA and EIAC”.
Treating hair loss after chemotherapy
In cases where hair loss lasts for longer than usual following chemotherapy, and it is upsetting or, as found in the study, having a negative effect on a cancer survivor’s quality of life, a consultation with a specialist is advised.
However, it is important to be aware that in order for any treatment to be prescribed – if it is considered worthwhile – a letter confirming their suitability for this is required from the patient’s oncologist beforehand.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.