One of the most feared side effects during treatment with chemotherapy is hair loss. In both men and women it represents an important change in the physiognomy and the self identity, besides it’s so notorious that it’s like screaming at everyone that you have cancer and you’re going through this process. The damage to self-esteem is undeniable especially when you have had a previous surgery for the disease and have some change in your body, hair loss seems unbearable to endure. However, we will explain that it is not impossible and that it can be tackled in a better way. First you have to know that not all chemotherapies cause hair loss, but many of them do. The reason is that these drugs attack cells that are constantly growing but don’t discriminate the malignant ones from the benign. Thus, the loss will not only be of the hair on your head, but of the entire body including eyebrows and, sometimes, also eyelashes, arms, legs and pubic. It is important to stay informed, to ask. The only way to combat the anxiety caused by this problem is to clear all doubts about it. The loss begins shortly after starting the treatment. It starts with a general weakness of the hair that makes it brittle and in about 2 weeks the fallness is evident. However, it is a transitory and reversible effect. At the end of the treatment the hair will start to grow again and in 6 months you will be able to show off a full head of hair. Even though wigs, turbans and head scarves are some of the accesories that can be used to disguise, there are people who complain of heat and itchy sensation on the scalp. In case you don’t want to use any of these garments you need to protect your scalp, so always take into account the use of sunscreen and moisturizers, remember that the skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight during chemotherapy. The best way to handle this uncomfortable effect is to try to take it as an opportunity to change your looks. Some people choose different wigs to try various types of hair styles or hair coloring. Other use turbans and hats of risky colors for unlikely combinations. Also the makeup courses to highlight the eyes and lips and learn to make up the eyebrows represent a fun way to cope with hair loss. Currently there is the cold cap which is a method to slow down hair loss through the placement of a tight cap at extreme cold temperatures that causes the contraction of the blood vessels of the scalp causing less medication to reach these cells thus hair loss is reduced. You can ask your doctor if you are a candidate for this technique because it does not work with all therapies. Finally it is important that you feel supported in this journey. Talking to your family and loved ones or, if necessary, to a mental health professional, will greatly help you to accept this process, which is, at the end, a part of the way to a definitive cure for your illness.
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