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Sunday, January 30, 2011 sR, Community Member, asks

Q: I am a woman 4 years plus post chemotherapy (Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxol) and my hair has not grown back on my head. Has anyone else had this problem?

More detail: also no eyebrows and sparse eyelashes. I took Eemara for about a month but could not tolerate it due to severe anxiety/depression and hot flashes so have not had any hormone suppressant therapy other than one month of Femara. I've asked my oncologist about my hair loss and he says he has not had any female patients who have had long term hair loss, but that I should have my hair back by now.
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Answers (2)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/30/11 7:59am

Although I've known people whose hair came back thinner than it was before, you are the first person I've heard of whose hair didn't come back at all.  Usually hair starts coming back within six to eight weeks after finishing chemo.  Radiation treatments after chemo can also affect how quickly the hair returns.  Since balding can be related to underlying health issues like thyroid problems, I think that you need to be sure that your oncologist is checking on all the non-cancer health issues that can affect hair growth.  A hairdresser might also have ideas about scalp treatments that might help.

Have any other readers had this problem?  Did you find a product that helped?

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CARRIE, Community Member
12/17/11 2:14pm

hello. i just wanted to tell you that i have the same problem and it sucks.I was 33 when i was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and i had nice long dark hair.Deciding to start the chemo was held off 2 months because i was so distraught at the thoughts of going bald.People close to me couldnt understand my delay because they all said wear a wig for a few months and your hair comes right back.Well i am now 41 and very little hair has come back.Funny that my doc said the same thing.She never heard of a patient whos hair didnt come back even better than before.Until me.Ive always found that hard to believe and it has deeply impacted my life.Wish i new of a way to solve it.Stuck payin a fortune to have hair glued to my head!   carrie

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/17/11 3:34pm

I'm so sorry that your hair hasn't come back.  Many women's hair comes back a different texture or color.  They don't all consider that it's "even better than before."  Nevertheless, it is extremely unusual for it not to grow back in some form.  I hope we will hear from a reader who found a hair growth remedy that worked for her.  You could ask a hair dresser about Nioxin or Rogaine type products to see if they might help you. 

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sR, Community Member
3/ 5/12 4:04pm

Well, at least we're not alone, although that doesn't make us any less bald!  I have had my thyroid checked on a couple of occasions and blood work always comes back within normal range.  My oncologist is not at all interested in following anything he doesn't feel is directly cancer related which drives me crazy because I feel like my loss of hair is a direct result of the chemo he prescribed and ordered to be administered. (I never had radiation...double mastectomy, hyterectomy, oopherectomy and chemo has been my "treatment") .  I wear a light weight scarf when I am out in public, but otherwise go just bald around the house.   In a culture where a woman's hair is her crowning glory, I don't feel physically attractive at all.  Well-meaning friends say: " You know what they say: 'bald is beautiful' ".  People with heads full of hair say bald is beautiful, not relatively young women facing the rest of their lives with no hair!.

 

I've tried wigs.  They are itchy, hot and uncomfortable. And they slide all over the place.  I've tried Rogaine.  It doesn't help and I worry about the chemicals in it causing other health problems.

 

What did you mean by "glue-ing hair" all over your head?  If it works better than an itchy wig, I might be tempted to try that! Smile   Sandy in Arizona

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/ 5/12 5:11pm

Sandy, it's true, your oncologist won't be the best person to advise you about hair loss; that's simply not what they focus on, even though the loss is a direct result of cancer treatment. Your best bet is to speak to your GP about what specialist might deal with hair loss issues in general; might be an endocrinologist. Try to get a referral to someone who deals with hair loss on a regular basis. Hopefully s/he can help you treat this problem, one way or another... I'm very sorry you're having to go through this. PJH

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By sR, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/05/12, First Published: 01/30/11