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Hair Loss or not?


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So trying to get in front of the eight ball.  Sounds like I will be having a second round of treatment starting in the coming weeks.  Carbo/Taxol/Keytruda every 3 weeks for 4-6 treatments and then just Keytruda.  My concern is that I will lose my hair.  I know, so vain.  Anyway, I had Carbo/Taxol last fall once a week for 6 weeks simultaneously with  radiation and my hair just thinned.  I have very thick hair.  My Oncologist told me about a cold/ice cap that you wear during treatment that you can buy on Amazon fairly inexpensive.  Does anyone have any info or advice about that?

Thanks,.

Babs

 

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Hi Babs,

I didn't have any chemo for my lung cancer, but I did have for a prior non-lung cancer. Like yoofu, I had chemo weekly along with radiation; the chemo for that was cisplatin. My hair didn't fall out with that. Then I had carboplatin and tsxoterre (close relative of taxol) every 3 weeks for 3 treatments. My hair did fall out with those. It's my understanding that the chemo given weekly with radiation is generally half the dose given every three weeks.

I've heard about the cold cap but I don't know anyone that's actually used it.

I was actually not too upset about losing my hair. I bought a lot of cute hats and scarves, which I enjoyed. I bought a cheap wig that looked nothing like my real hair. I enjoyed wig shopping with a friend -- I tried a lot of different styles--but I didn't like wearing the wig. I know women who bought expensive human hair wigs and did well wearing them. 

My hair had been fairly long before cancer and I found it pretty convenient to be hairless for a while. I was a lot easier to go swimming, for one thing. I ended up keeping my hair pretty short after that , until COVID 19 came along and the hairdressers here are all closed.

If you really want to do everything you can to keep your hair, the cold cap is worth a try. If you end up without hair, it's not the end of the world. It will grow back. Most people I know who lost their hair from chemo had it come back different. Mine was curlier.  You could think of it as a hair adventure.

Bridget O

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Babs,

Welcome here.

In my treatment history, I had 18 infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin. The first 6 were understrength and given in concert with first line radiation. I didn't lose hair during these initial treatments. I did however lose hair (including eye brows, eye lashes) during the remaining 12 full strength infusions.

Patients in my infusion center often talked about remedies to hair loss, including the cold cap. Those that tried them were disappointed. Perhaps they work for some, but more than likely, they don't work for everyone. Moreover, I know folks who've had full strength Taxol and Carboplatin and did not lose hair.  

One thing is sure. Shortly after my last infusion, my hair started growing back. Now, years later, age associated baldness is my challenge.

While hair is important to self-esteem, surviving lung cancer is also important. Of course, I was concerned about how I looked in public during bald chemo days, but a baseball cap minimized a lot of public attention. I would focus on the easy and inexpensive ways of minimizing public discomfort rather than expensive and, more often than not, ineffective methods.

Stay the course.

Tom

 

 

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So being old, married and almost 100% bold, hair loss was the last thing on my mind :-)

My first wife died of colon cancer and never lost her hair during 2 years of chemo. I hope you don't loose yours either.

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If you are looking for more info on the cold cap solution, here is what I stumbled on the other day.  

http://www.rapunzelproject.org

I have no first-hand knowledge of it, but sounds like it could be promising.  If you do try it, I'd love to hear whether it works!

Best,

Susan 

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Just a heads up to really do your homework on this. My cancer center discouraged the use of cold caps indicating it could reduce the effectiveness of chemo.   I don’t have any references to support that though. I was too freaked out in the beginning about my diagnosis that I didn’t care if my hair fell out.  I learned my insurance company paid for wigs (nice ones too). I temporarily considered becoming a red head with some really cute styles.   Fortunately it wasn’t necessary.  

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Thanks everyone for your input.  After some thought and tossing around some of your advice, I probably won’t look any further into a cold cap.  I don’t think they’re cheap either.  

Michelle - I have alsoread that it could interfere with the chemo and it’s certainly not worth the risk.  

So now to decide if I do lose my hair, do I want to look like myself or go completely different?  Ha, might be fun!
 

Babs
 

 

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After reading more about it this afternoon, it seems to be pretty much of a PITA --  AND also doesn't sound like it's a complete save (numerous references to "some thinning").  If there's a chance of it interfering with the chemo, too, skipping it becomes a no-brainer.   One of those things that sounds too good to be true, so probably is.   There are lots of worse things than a new look, right? 😁

Susan 

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As soon as the lockdown hit, I decided the pandemic was the PERFECT time to grow out my gray hair. I'd been toying with the idea for a while, but my job involved traveling and giving presentations, which meant I had to look presentable, and the awkwardness of growing it out always stopped me. 

Now, I've got a good couple inches of gray grown out and an excuse for getting the buzz-cut I was considering. My daughter is trying to talk me into a mohawk (her punk past--she said it's the only cut she knows how to give), and WTF, I just might let her. She's also pushing for some "fun colors" to play with. I'll have to think about that one, but I might go for it.

 

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Hi Babs- 

I lost my hair in 2017 thanks to carboplatin and taxol. I lost it in the summer in Texas so I really didn't have any complaints! My eyelashes grew in longer which was a nice surprise. I kept my hair short (see my profile pic) until....the pandemic. Oh well.

My hair started thinning out and then my scalp hurt. It was like I'd had my hair up in a tight ponytail too long - that kind of hurt. I read that once that pain started, you have about 10 days before it all but falls out. I shaved my head when I could take it no more.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Well that’s a handy bit of info.  I’ll remember that when/if it starts to hurt. Always nice to have a little time to try and adjust.  At that point you probably don’t care and any vanity remaining goes out the window!  I’m actually going to try on some wigs next week.  Do you remember about what treatment you were at when it fell out?

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Babs - 

I had 6 "lite" doses of the carbo/taxol treatment, a 2 week break and then 2 full doses of the chemo separated by three weeks. The hair really started falling out after that first full dose. By the time I got the 2nd full dose, I was bald. I showed up for an appointment wearing a shirt that said 'My oncologist does my hair'. 

I didn't go the wig route. I had something akin to folliculitis after I shaved my head. By the way, if you encounter this, try Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo. I wore scarves, caps and bandanas. I also invested in fake eyelashes because the real ones were quick to fall out. For timing purposes, I shaved my head in mid-July and I had enough hair to "style" by mid November. 

 

 

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Ha!  Love the shirt!  That’s classic!  

I had the 6 lite doses and my hair just thinned.  I have my first full dose next Friday.  Do you think your scalp condition was due to the shaving?  Thanks for the heads up on the eyelashes.  And Wow, your hair came back fast!  

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  • 1 month later...

I just took my 1st round of The triplet 3 days ago. Vain or not I  was also diappointed by possible hair loss. But hey at least its Halloween. I will save money on a scary mask! So far Im just very easily exhausted. Hopefully this only last a few days?

 

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Babs, I had 6 rounds of carbo and taxol (ending on 1/15/20), and my hair and eyelashes did fall out. I had my husband use electric clippers to shave off what was left. My hair was then as short as his.

My chemo infusion center offered free gift baskets donated by a local church, and out of everything, the 3 most important gifts were (i) a soft sleep cap, (ii) a small seat belt cushion to protect my port and (iii) a warm blanket for chemo days. Your head does get cold if you're used to having hair, and also your scalp will be sensitive for a while. 

I ordered some cute headwear from Headcovers Unlimited, and I still wear one of them today. After all this time, my hair is having a tough time growing back. My hairdresser recommends biotin, and I will ask my oncologist later this month what he thinks. 

My oncology nurse practitioner does not recommend false eyelashes, so I just used eyeliner and shadow  when my lashes were gone. (They fell out twice!) But even though my top lashes are back now, I don't even bother with eye makeup much anymore. 

Good luck! 

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Yes, I ended up losing all my hair, but so far not my eyelashes.  I had my daughter shave it all after it was coming out in hand falls.  It was just so messy and I was over it and ready to move on!!  I bought a wig which looks just like my hair did.  It was expensive, $700.00 but my Insurance is going to cover it.  I also have some scarves which I wear at home and are more comfortable.  I’ve come to accept it and will deal with it as we do everything else that comes with this horrid disease.  Good luck to all!
 

Babs  

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