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Hi. I am sad to be posting, but happy to have found this website. My mom, age 58, has NSCLC IIIA. She started chemo mid Nov. I am an only child, age 31, and devestated about the possibility of losing my mom. Amazing how fast and unexpectedly life can change. I have a couple of questions since I guess I have been fortunate enough to not deal with cancer until now .

1. I am wondering, how long is it before people start to lose their hair? We noticed that it has not grown. She got it cut/colored 4 weeks ago, a day after diagnosis and normally she would have roots by now, but there has been no growth. However, it has not fallen out yet. Her first chemo was Nov. 21.

2. I have complete trust in her doctor, but I am curious, I noticed that many people are on carboplatine/taxatore and a few are on gemzar like my mom. Does anyone know about the difference in the chemos?

Thanks! My prayers are with everyone.

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I had a friend who was getting Gemzar. She didn't loose her hair. I was given Taxol/carboplatin every wk for 8 wks (hair thinned.) I also was getting radiation at the same time for 38 treatments (5 days per wk.) I was off chemo for 2 months, (re-started evr'y 3 wks cycle for 12 wks) lost hair in 3 weeks. I really think it is an individual thing. As Becky said, not everyone looses their hair. My suggestion is don't color your hair, chemicals are harsh on hair and may add to loss. I know it's hard, I had hightlighted hair. I refrained from coloring and I really think it helped my hair stay in much longer. These are just suggestions.

As far as the different chemos, what I received worked for me. The tumor was 17cm (March) and it shrunk to 3cm by September. I was given a Bronc on 10-16 and Pulmonary doc couldn't find tumor and biopsy came back negative. I believe and give credit to my #1 physician, God through Jesus his son. I hope all goes well with your mom and she is in my prayers...

God Bless


P.S. You can PM me if you want to...

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I started losing my hair about 3 weeks after chemo (cisplatin and VP-16).

There are not only a huge variety of chemos available, but more being approved all the time, and many more in clinical trials and the preclinical pipeline. Sometimes all we might need is to stall for time until THE treatment is available. This is a field that moves very fast, medically speaking.

I was diagnosed after almost 2 years of shoulder pain, when the orthopedic doctor wouldn't do an x ray. I wasn't aggressive enough and took his word it was spasm in strained muscles. BUT I was given a chemo/radiation protocol in May that had only been cleared in Jan for immediate implementation on compassionate grounds when they halted a phase ii clinical trial. If I had been diagnosed earlier I might have missed the effective chemo, as it would not yet have been available.

The Lord works in strange ways.

Good luck and keep us posted.


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Different chemos work in different modalities. Some chemos work by killing tumor cells as they try to replicate and spread. Some chemos work to kill off mature tumor cells. Others may kill tumors while they are new. That is often why when one chemo does not work, they try another chemo, in an effort to effect the specific cellular structure of your cancer.

I'm not sure if that is too simplified, but with my limited understanding, that is how I understand it to be.

That is also why they usually give chemo with two drugs. That is to attack the tumors from multiple fronts. One drug usually kills mature cells, and the other a different cellular structure.

Different chemo drugs can also effect hair loss. When my husband first received chemo Cisplatin and CPT-11 he didn't lose any hair. When it changed to Cisplatin and VP-16 it thinned, but still looked good (the picture of us was after two cycles of Cisplatin and VP-16). Then we changed to Carboplatin and VP-16 and he lost his hair in the matter of a week (about 10 days). We have been off of treatment now for two and a half months, and he is almost ready for a haircut.

Everyone is different, and people's hair reacts different to each different drug. Whatever happens, know it is only temporary. There are some wonderful agencies out there that supply cancer survivors with realistic wigs. Or go au-naturale... Bald is truly beautiful.

God Bless,


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