HOW CHEMOTHERAPY AFFECTS HAIR
The side effects of chemotherapy range from thinning to total baldness and depend mostly on the type and dosage of chemo you or a loved one receives. The good news is that hair loss is temporary for most people, but it's one of the side effects that women fear most.
Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells—healthy cells as well as cancer cells. 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. For a healthy person, our cells divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as the chemo does its work against cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells.
Within a few weeks of starting chemo, some or all of the hair may be lost. Hair loss is one of the most emotionally devastating side effects of chemotherapy. For women in particular, so much of your individual identity and personality is reflected in your hair. Hair being a physical representation of your confidence and sense of self. Losing it can be unexpected and truly upsetting.
Luckily, you may qualify for a cranial hair prosthesis from your insurance company.