October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The international health campaign is organized by major breast cancer charities annually to increase awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection. In addition to creating awareness, the month is dedicated to raising money for research and treatment.
While breast cancer is highly treatable, especially in the earlier stages, the treatment weakens the body and produces debilitating symptoms like hair loss. The good news is that hair loss because of chemotherapy treatment is temporary, and your hair will begin to regrow as soon as the treatment ends.
Overcoming and surviving cancer is the most important thing, but it's also crucial for people to have a sense of normalcy during a time that's anything but ordinary. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at Mane Image, we want to provide you with information about how cancer treatments affect the growth of your hair and some options to maintain your looks and confidence during the recovery process.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight American women, about 12 percent, will develop breast cancer during their lives.
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control and form a tumor that can be felt as a lump in a breast exam or seen in an x-ray. The cancer cells divide at an extremely rapid pace and can move to other parts of the body, causing further damage. While usually considered an issue that affects women, men can also develop breast cancer.
Over 200,000 people develop breast cancer annually in the U.S., leading to more than 40,000 deaths. Fortunately, the American Cancer Society reports that because of increased awareness, early screening, and better treatments, death rates from breast cancer have consistently decreased since 1989.
What Happens to Hair During Chemotherapy?
Many people don't realize that it's the cancer treatment that causes hair loss and not the cancer itself. Chemotherapy, a standard treatment for breast cancer, is a combination of powerful drugs. These drugs target all rapidly dividing cells in the body, including the cells in your hair follicles, which also multiply quickly. So, while the drugs used for chemotherapy are targeting cancer cells, they are also inadvertently attacking healthy hair follicle cells.
Chemotherapy doesn't always cause hair loss. Whether your hair falls out, thins, or stays the same during treatment depends on various factors, including the types of drugs used, dosages, and timing of treatments. Every person's experience with chemotherapy is unique. Hair loss may occur suddenly or over time, beginning as early as the second week of the first cycle of chemotherapy or two weeks after the second cycle of chemotherapy.
The Challenges Women Face Regarding Hair Loss and What You Can Do
Along with dealing with other people's perspectives, one of the biggest challenges women face when dealing with hair loss from chemotherapy is looking in the mirror and not seeing yourself in your own reflection. When it comes to chemotherapy and hair loss, it's difficult to watch the transition and not have any control. The feeling of losing control and not knowing the eventual outcome is an extremely emotionally challenging situation.
At Mane Image, we understand that dealing with hair loss from cancer treatments can be difficult, and we're here to help. Our team of expert hair specialists can help you regain your confidence and self-esteem with our customized hair loss solutions. We can even provide guidance and suggestions to help make growing your hair back after chemo easier. To learn more about effective solutions for dealing with temporary hair loss related to cancer treatments, contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation.