This is a huge subject and Im going to try to simplify and narrow it down a bit. First of all, I'm here to say, with today's progress in treatments, there are some treatments where you will never lose your hair, and some where your hair will thin a bit, but unfortunately, still today, most treatments do attack The cells of the hair follicle .Hair loss occurs due the fact that treatments such as Chemotherapy, shrink's and attack's the cells of the follicle. Hair follicles, (the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair), are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. If you're not in cancer treatment, your hair follicles divides every 23 to 72 hours. But as chemotherapy does it's work or job on Cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells. Basically, treatments cut off cell growth of the hair follicle.
Unfortunately, no one can tell you exactly when you will lose your hair because everyone is different, but we, at AJ'S Wigs and most other expert's estimate that depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment, it could be as soon as 7 days( after first treatment) or later than 2 weeks. It will be either fast or slow. One reason we cannot tell exactly when, it also depends largely on the frequency of your treatments.
Review: hair loss time table depends on:
type of treatments
Signs of hair loss are dramatic, dramatic, dramatic. It comes out on your pillow, in the shower, combs and brushes. It comes out when the wind blows and if someone touches your head. I cannot stress how much, (please listen carefully). Losing your hair is one of the worst things you can go through. Our clients here at AJ'S Wigs report that the biggest, most emotional physical sign was not getting sick, or feeling like they had been hit by a Mack Truck, but it was seeing their hair fall out. They report that it is startling, shocking, depressing and dehumanizing.
I can tell you personally, that when I was younger, I had a full head
of wavy, beautiful Red hair. The kind of hair everyone wanted and
women paid a lot of money for. When I was in my late 20's and early
30's, it slowly started to disappear. But it was a slow progression.
I can't even imagine losing it within days.As a man, it affected the
way I looked at myself and how I thought others looked at me. Not
knowing anything about hair, I asked my hair dresser at the time if
there was anything that stopped it, and of course, there was nothing
really at the time. I got desperate enough to start ….THE COMB
OVER. Finally, I accepted the fact that my looks were about to change
forever. Im saying this to you because the feelings and emotions of
losing hair, is temporary. I promise,unlike me, your hair will grow
back. Now, here is the awesome part. Your hair, as it grow back, will
be a totally different hair scape. Want curly hair? You got it, as
most people 's hair grows back curly and thick.We call this...CHEMO
Adriamycin (the “A” in CAF chemo treatment) causes complete hair loss on the head, usually during the first few weeks of treatment. Some women also lose eyelashes and eyebrows.
Methotrexate (the “M” in CMF chemo treatment) thins hair in some people but not others. And it's rare to have complete hair loss from methotrexate.
Cytoxan and 5-fluorouracil cause minimal hair loss in most women, but some may lose a great deal.
Taxol usually causes complete hair loss, including head, brows, lashes, pubic area, legs, and arms.
Now, as you can see from the above list of main Chemo Medications, they all cause hair loss unless you are one of the lucky few with Methotrexate. Other types of treatments such as Radiation may/will cause hair loss but it depends on the area being treated, such as lung cancer, you will lose chest hair, skin cancer, you will lose hair in the area being treated. Now, when you will lose your scalp hair, is when you have Brain cancer.
When do I purchase a wig or hair piece
Most social workers (patient coordinators), will tell you to start looking right away, but we at AJ'sWigs find that most client wait too late. Because no one can tell you an exact date of total hair fall out, it is important to follow the advice of your social worker. The reason why is, once you come into AJ's Wigs, and choose the perfect look for yourself, we do run into things like :
1)Colors or styles being back ordered
2)Human hair order's which are customized might take up to 4- 8 weeks.
Now, once you order your wig, most order times, unless your lucky to find the perfect style and color in stock to walk out with, is about 3-5 business days. So, for example, If they schedule you for your first treatment on the first of the month and your hair falls out the 7th, you need to “get your egg's in order” so that the first sign of hair loss, you know there is a wig waiting for you at any time. Remember, Hair is an emotion.
It all has to do with being organized and having peace of mind that the transition between hair loss and a wig,which no one knows is a wig, is perfect timing!!!!!
The other day, this women came into the salon to look for a wig. I asked her when her first treatment was and her daughter spoke up and said this past Friday (just 7days prior). Not knowing the total situation, I lightly brushed her hair to put the wig cap on to start trying on Wigs, and her hair came out in droves.I looked down and had two hand fulls of hair. Her daughter said, “See mom? Your Oncologist told you weeks ago to come here”. I looked at my client who had tears in her eyes and said, “don't worry hun, you will leave here looking fabulous”.
The last thing anyone needs, is to walk into work, go to diner, go dancing, be in the pool or waking up with hair all over your pillow. In past blogs, we have talked about taking control over your prognosis or control over your journey instead of the journey taking control over you. One of the worst emotions of the journey is losing your hair.
Of course what most people don't seem to realize is that the psychological damage caused by hair loss and feeling unattractive can be just as devastating as any serious disease, and in fact, can take an emotional toll that directly affects physical health.
Hair loss in women can be absolutely devastating for self image and emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, society has forced women to suffer in silence. It is considered far more acceptable for men to go through the same hair loss process. Even more unfortunately, the medical community pays little attention to the issue of woman's hair loss. Since hair loss doesn't appear to be life threatening, physicians often overlook woman's complaints about hair loss and essentially tell their patients that "it's no big deal," and that "you'll just have to live with it."
Hair plays an important role in our social lives. Upon meeting someone, one of the first things you notice is their hair. Before a social engagement, it is very important for us to look good, and a good lock of hair is what completes our appearance. Those affected by hair loss become aware of how important hair is in our social lives quickly.
Hair loss may cause the person to limit social activities. Some people avoid seeing friends and stop going out except to work.
Surveys have shown that around 40% of women with alopecia have had marital problems, and around 63% claimed to have career related problems. So, to avoid the following problems between when you start your treatments and shopping for a Wig, the wig should be one of your major purchases and concerns because hair loss can cause:
Embarrassment, Loss of confidence, Shyness ,Social teasing and humiliation ,Loss of personal attractiveness and fear of not looking attractive to others ,Low self-esteem and Dissatisfaction with appearance and body-image .