Hair Care

The brighter side of losing hair is that you can sport a brand new hair style when it grows back!

Hair loss happens during chemotherapy and is the most distressing aspect of treatment for a majority of patients. I have seen patients dropping out of treatment because of hair loss.

Hair loss is temporary. Once chemotherapy is complete hair grows back and most often I find that it grows back better than what it used to be. Most conservative middle aged and elderly south Indian women will not usually venture into styling their hair, but after treatment a lot of them will keep it short, curly and they look wonderful. In fact, they look years younger and prettier after treatment!

Hair loss usually starts around the beginning of the second cycle and it starts to grow after completion of chemotherapy.

Tips and tricks to cope with hair loss

  • South Indian women have the habit of tonsuring for religious reasons. If that is acceptable, then planning this ahead of chemotherapy helps. It gives a sense of satisfaction of having made an offering/ prayer for their well being. They don’t see the hair falling during treatment. Seeing clumps of hair falling causes a lot of distress. Some find it more acceptable to tell others that they had it shaved for a prayer or as an offering.
  • Shaved hair can be used to make a wig. Some wig makers will be able to make a wig using patients' own hair.
  • Wigs can be made to order or better still would be to choose a brand new hair style! Most wig makers will be able to make a realistic wig (or will have readymade wigs) that matches with the patients' normal hair style.
  • Scarves and hats are always an option if wigs are not an option. Lovely scarves and bandanas can be designed and matched to ones clothes.
  • Some women are very comfortable to sport a shaven head look and look like babies when they have their hair shaved first. (It is a custom in Dravidian states to offer their baby’s first hair to their family deity, usually around their first birthday)

Discuss and find out more about hair care from our breast care nurses. Talking to patient volunteers also helps.

Authored by Dr. Selvi Radhakrishna

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