Hair Regrowth After Chemotherapy

Hair regrowth after chemotherapy is a common concern for cancer patients

cancer survivor without hair
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Hair regrowth after chemotherapy is a common concern for cancer patients. In fact, hair loss can be a devastating side effect of chemotherapy.

What is Cancer?

Cancer can start any place in the body. It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should and causes problems in the part of the body where the cancer started.

Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

For instance, cancer cells in the lung can travel to the bones and grow there. When cancer cells spread, it’s called metastasis. When lung cancer spreads to the bones, it’s still called lung cancer. To doctors, the cancer cells in the bones look just like the ones from the lung. It’s not called bone cancer unless it started in the bones.

Some cancers grow and spread fast. Others grow more slowly. They also respond to treatment in different ways. Some types of cancer are best treated with surgery; others respond better to drugs called chemotherapy. Often two or more treatments are used to get the best results.

When someone has cancer, the doctor will want to find out what kind of cancer it is. People with cancer need treatment that works for their type of cancer.

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of any drug to treat any disease. But to most people, the word chemotherapy means drugs used for cancer treatment.

It’s often shortened to “chemo.”

Surgery and radiation therapy remove, kill, or damage cancer cells in a certain area, but chemo can work throughout the whole body. This means chemo can kill cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far away from the original (primary) tumor.

Hair Regrowth After Chemotherapy

The good news is that hair loss is temporary for most people. How long it takes to grow back varies from person to person. Hair may start to grow back while still undergoing chemotherapy or after treatment has ended. Many people report seeing hair growth around four to six weeks after the end of treatment.

When hair does grow back, it may be a different texture or possibly a different color than it was before you started treatment. For example, if you had straight hair, it may grow back in curly. Some people also find that their hair grows in gray and then a few months later returns to their natural color.

As your hair grows, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner. For the first six months, you may want to hold off on having chemical processes like perms or hair coloring because your hair is still fragile and scalp is very sensitive. Using a hair dryer or curling/straightening iron may also cause damage.


American Cancer Society. 

"Hair Loss. American Cancer Society. 17 Mar 2007.

How Do I Deal With Losing My Hair?." American Cancer Society. 17 Mar 2007.

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