Can Breast Cancer Cause Hair Loss?
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the unregulated growth of cells in your breasts. The breast is composed of three different parts: the lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. According to the CDC, the kind of breast cancer you get is determined by where in those three parts of the breast become cancerous. The two most common forms of breast cancer are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma – the former being more popular.
How someone might get breast cancer is dependent on many factors, like age, genetics, former treatments involving radiation, etc. Symptoms of breast cancer can range from pain and nipple discharge to lumps in and around your breasts and extreme irritation. We encourage you to speak with your doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary regarding your breasts.
How to treat breast cancer?
Treatments for breast cancer include surgery removing the cancer from the affected area. Hormonal, biological, and radiation therapy are all potential treatments for breast cancer. One that we’re going to be placing a bit more focus on is chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is an effective way to destroy fast-growing cancer cells in your body. The medications are aggressive in nature and can be used for multiple forms of cancer – not just breast cancer. Chemotherapy can be used as either the main form of treatment or as a primer for other treatments. Chemotherapy can be utilized before surgery to shrink the tumors so that doctors can operate on the patient easier – this is called neoadjuvant therapy.
When treating breast cancer, does chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss?
As we mentioned, chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs to combat cancer cells. These medications specifically attack cells that are rapidly growing – as is the nature of cancerous cells. However, in their destructive pursuit, chemotherapy may also mistakenly attack other systems in your body that are quickly regenerating, which includes growing hair. The production of hair is attacked by chemotherapy medications and halts hair growth temporarily, and not just on your scalp but also everywhere else on the body.
Does radiation therapy for treating breast cancer cause hair loss?
In a similar vein to chemotherapy, radiation therapy is a sure way to lose your hair on that specific area of your body. Unlike chemotherapy which may cause hair loss all over the body, radiation therapy only causes hair loss on the affected area. For example, if you are administered radiation therapy on your chest, that won’t mean that hair on your head will fall too. Radiation therapy is temporary, and once the treatment is over you could start to grow your hair back naturally over time. There have been some reports of hair growing slightly different than what it was before receiving treatment, but over the course of a year or more your hair can return to normal.
Does breast cancer cause hair loss?
It is understood that treatments for breast cancer, and other forms of cancer, are what cause hair loss – not so much the cancer itself. Cancer is the unregulated growth of cells, and chemotherapy treatment is aggressively stopping that overgrowth but consequently you may lose your hair temporarily.
Should I use hair loss treatments while undergoing chemotherapy?
We recommend consulting with either your physician or a hair loss medical professional on whether using hair loss therapy while undergoing chemotherapy is advisable. Remember that chemotherapy drugs are strong and attack cells that grow quickly. Hair loss treatments are meant to be continued for months, whereas chemotherapy takes weeks to observe hair loss.
However, when you are ready to purchase a treatment for hair loss, usually after chemotherapy, Capillus laser therapy caps are a great way to start growing once again. By using low-level light therapy to stimulate your hair follicles, Capillus laser therapy caps are a quick and easy way to kick start your hair growth journey. Below are three of our caps that range from affordable yet powerful to our flagship Pro S1. Talk to one of our consultants today to see which cap is best for you - or speak with a medical professional for more.