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Sunday, November 16, 2008 debbie, Community Member, asks

Q: how soon should i expect hair loss after my first chemo treatment?

I had my first chemo treatment of taxotere and cyclophosphamide 12 days ago. Is it to soon to know if i will lose my hair?
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Answers (3)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/16/08 8:36pm

Hi Debbie - Hair loss with Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) usually begins 3-6 weeks after your first treatment. So it's too soon to see any hair loss yet, I suspect. Not too soon to find some hats or head-wraps, however; or get a wig, if you're going that route. Believe it or not, you'll feel better once it falls out; less anxious. And then, when it grows back, you often get a different color and different style - like, it'll be curly if it was always straight before. It's an interesting process. So many of us go through it - you'll be OK. Best of luck - PJH

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Angi, Community Member
11/17/08 8:18pm

Hi Debbie!

Everyone responds differently to chemo, but through my own experience and that of those I know - we all lost are hair after the 2nd treatment or approx. 3rd week.  I had cut my hair short(er) in anticipation of it - then it just started falling out in clumps so I shaved my head.  This time around I'm not cutting my hair off.  My hair is so thick I may get away with not losing all of it.

I've heard the stories about different color, texture, style - but that's not always the case.  Someone once told me that once it grows back in to immediately shave it again and it will grow back better.  Didn't happen.  I've been cursed with the same coarse, curly, thick, blonde hair since birth.  I'd love for my hair to come in straight, but I think that such tales are myths really.  LOL.  Besides, everyone is different and responds differently.  So there's really no telling what your journey will be like.  But good luck to you - fingers crossed that you get exactly what you want!

Angi

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sue dyer, Community Member
11/30/08 8:42am

Hello Debbie and good luck! My doctor told me that I'd lose my hair just before my second chemo and, lo and behold, when I saw him just before the second treatment I still had a full head of hair, albeit much shorter as I'd had it cut on the advice of my onco nurse.

However, a week later, after a weekend of sore and tingling scalp and the feeling that I was clinging on to it from sheer stubbornness, I decided to give it a really good wash in the shower and rub it off. I was quite jubilant after I'd done this and it felt really clean and fresh. I washed off about half of it and the rest has been falling out a few at a time. If you try the same thing, do remember to make sure that you pull all the hairs out of the drainage outlet or you may end up mopping the bathroom floor as I did when my husband had a shower the next day!

I have a wig that I now wear when I go out and some nice caps and scarves that I wear around the house or when the weather is hot (summer is about to start here in Australia)

Let me reassure you that losing your hair is not as bad as you think it's going to be and you get used to your new look very quickly.

Best wishes

Sue in Melbourne

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By debbie, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/23/13, First Published: 11/16/08