Due to start chemo soon - hair help!

Due to start my chemo in the next couple of weeks 6 x FEC-T. Had WLE with one node affected but no clear margins, then mastectomy with reconstruction where they found another tumour (not seen on MRI/Ultrasound/Mammogram!). I’m 41 with two teenage daughters. My mum was diagnosed last Friday with breast cancer which was a complete shock. All the females on my mothers side up to great grandmother have had breast cancer. I went privately for a mammogram in September (previous mammo year before was clear) and did not expect this! The thing that worries me about this whole bloomin thing is my hair loss. I can’t think about it without crying and I’ve been so strong over everything else!! I know it will grow back and wigs are so good these days, but this doesn’t make me feel much better! Just need some words of wisdom to help me get through this next bit. Thanks! Knowing my luck it will all fall out over the Christmas dinner!

Hi Pinkrose, I too dreaded the thought of losing my hair.It was very thick and down to my waist. I didnt want to cut it short so left it mid back length before chemo which was 4xFEC,4xTax. I used the cold cap throughout and by the end of the fec I still had a good head of hair.Because I’ve got a big head it was a little thin on the crown were the cold cap didnt fit properly but it was hardly noticable. Alas I lost the blinking lot on Tax! I’d bought a great wig from E-bay just incase - it looked just like my own hair. I didnt tell anyone I had BC except close family and my best friend and nobody noticed! Losing my hair was the worst part of my treatment but it came back with a vengence and I actually really liked it when it was very short but because it grew so quickly I was always in the hairdressers. My chemo finished in the aug and I was able to ditch the wig in October. It’s back down my waist now!
Josie xx


Your hospital should have one available. I had 4 FEC and 4 Tax and kept all of my (long, thick) hair. Worth a go maybe, if you’re upset about the thought of losing your hair. There’s a good thread on here somewhere with tips on making it work for you. Never any guarantees, as Josie found out, but worth investigating.

Best of luck xxx

Hi pinkrose,

It is worth trying the cold cap if you really want to hold on to your hair. They do work well for some people. There are downsides though. It is very cold so that some people suffer headaches. It extends treatment time by quite lot because you need to keep it on for some time after treatment ends.

Best advice I can give you if it doesn’t work is shave it off as soon as it starts. It sounds drastic but is much less distressing than sitting at the dinner table with handfuls falling out. I’ve been going to the chemo unit for nearly 2 years and I promise the wigs are so good I can’t tell who has lost their hair and who hasn’t unless they tell me. Thinning hair is much more obvious. Like Josie says it really does come back very quickly. Mine came in thick and very dark with no gray (I’m 49).

Good luck, Jan

hey pinkrose…
sorry to hear your news. and that of your mom.

my mom was dx last nov, mx and clearance.

i was dx sept this year, nodes clear , grade 3, fec x6 then rads and tamoxofen 5 years.

for me the hair loss thought was worse than the dx itself. and i would cry and cry over the thought of it. i was sick of people saying it will grow back! i was going to try the cold cap and anything that would allow my hair to stay, but the more i read i thought , i wont be able to do my hair as i do now, i wouldnt have been able to use the straighteners, so would still be loosing my hair to me!! so i decided i would choose when and how my hair went.

week after fec, i let oh’s girls 7 and 9 cut my hair like girls world. then oh got the clippers out. and do you know, i was glad, glad i had chose that. i felt quite liberated.

hair would be due to fall out now and to be honest i dotn worry now as its gone already. this journey is all about ticking things off. hair was one.

xxxxx hope this helped, kaz. x

Hiya. Thanks so much for all your comments.
Kaz - I like your comment about ticking things off the list! Interesting about the cold cap as if I couldn’t use my hair straightners this would make me miserable too! Made an appointment with the wig lady who is coming to my house next week and chemo is due to start before xmas. Bought myself a very expensive gorgeous hat yesterday, so I’m starting to prepare myself. I think once it’s gone I’ll feel much better … weird isn’t it!

Hi Pink rose.
I have used the paxman cooler and day 30 still have a lot of hair. Some of it has fallen out,I have found hair all over the house, but to anyone else it looks as per usual. It has come out but not in handfuls. The downside is not washing it often, no products, hair dryers etc. Half the time I am wearing a hat anyway because it is greasy and lank. As others said better to make the choice.
Good luck,

hey pinkrose,
glad my list idea helped. its really helping me, an you can see your progress on the days you dont think your making any.

also it makes it easy to see what you have to do, as all this is so tangled of appointments, things to do , not to do ect ect.

hugs xxx
feel free to join the other thread i started. starting my pink road nov 15th, we are all at different stages, but its fab, light hearted and tips. ect

kaz x

hi ladies, had first lot chemo almost 2 weeks go, so sat here waiting for my hair to start falling out, thought id cope ok with it as got to rember grows back…unlike my left breast will…but now the times geting close think its going to realy upset me…at least the cold weather is an excusse to wear a hat just a shame i look 30 years older in a hat lol…been told day 15 after chemo is a main day for hair loss??? any truth in this anyone know…xx

Hi there
I finished chemo in April of this year, and for me, losing my hair was the biggest challenge to deal with, without a shadow of a doubt!
The cold cap did not work for me,so on day 14 exactly, i was pulling it all out…i cried and cried for days.

Anyway, the good news is that i bought two excellent wigs, looked just like my old hair, and wore those until the summer. By late June, i was so hot wearing a wig, that i ditched it and went bare, with about an inch of hair - and it felt good!

Now, I have about 3 inces of thick curly hair, and i am able to use mini straighteners on it to tame it a bit!

At the time it is unpleasant, but it does go so fast and before you know it, your hair will be back…xxx

Hi Avril ive just finished chemo and 20 rads 31st Oct and to me aswell the losing hair part was upset me the most and i felt so stupid and vain after everything i was going to but its not its a HUGE thing to and a very BIG DEAL .Ive sent you a private message and if i can help just message me anytime xxxxJulie

Hi agsin Avril

I think the hair loss varies from person to person.

I was told my hair would go betweeen day 10 and 14 - and it did go on day 14, but i was very silly and prolonged the agony (e.g would not shave it off or anything).

As Julie said in her post, for alot of ladies it is a massive deal, it certainly was for me…xx


as per prev post i shaved mine a week after first fec,
day 19 the rest started to fall. not all of it,
lady garden went too xxx

Hi ladies,

Mine started to go two weeks after FEC1. Got a bit thin, so shaved it all off about Day 18. Most of it’s gone now. Lady garden half gone - I/m now 6 days after FEC3. BUT eyebrows are starting to fall out today! I didn’t mind the hair thing too much - at least I can hide under hat/wigs, but the eyebrows seem to be a step too far - I’m not good with more than basic make up.
One more lovely SE! Hey-ho.

You are NOT alone in the fear of the eyebrows falling - that’s my dread, and I know it’s shared by others on this forum! No hair can be a statement… no eyebrows is, frankly, weird. I even googled false eyebrows… but think that might look even stranger, and I can’t afford eyebrow tattoos or I prob. would!!

Sophie xx

Yes - without eyebrows & eyelashes your face seems to lose definition - I looked like an egg!

After going to a LGFB workshop I got to be a dab hand with the eyebrow pencil and eyeliner from the lovely bag of goodies - never used either before.

On a positive note my eyelashes and eyebrows started to grow back about 2 weeks after last TAX and within 2 weeks were back to full glory. In fact my brows are better than before because they had been really thin due to excessive plucking in my teenage years.

Yep, the eyebrows and eyelashes were the worst thing for me (apart from the constipation but that’s for another time). The Look Good Feel Better session really helped me too.

Lella, I don’t know how long it is since yours grew back but if it’s only recently I have a piece of advice that might help you too. My new lashes started to fall out again after about 8 weeks and I was devastated. My optician friend told me it was part of the normal cycle and they would come back. It takes a while before they start renewing at different times so that you don’t notice.

Jan xx

Oooh no I didn’t know that Jan so I’m glad you warned me!

I’m two years out from chemo. I knew I was going to lose my hair so when it started coming out in handfuls I got my OH to shave my head. I felt so much better. More in control. My eyelashes thinned but I never lost my eyebrows. Not everyone does.

It starting coming back very soon after finishing chemo, but was like corkscrews and was that way for about 12 months. I’ve only just had the remnants of the curls cut off and feel more like my old self. I actually cried in the hairdresser’s when she blew it straight as I felt I had ‘me’ back.

The chemo, I checked off on the calendar. One down, only another 7 to go etc but the hair… I just wanted ‘me’ back. Looking in the mirror, at me with corkscrews, was weird and I didn’t recognise the person looking back at me.

Now?? I’m back to me. It took a while but I’m here.

You will be too.

Hi Pinkrose,
I finished my chemotherapy in September, and I used the cold cap for the first two sessions. I didn’t use it for the rest because my hair began coming out by the brushful 2 weeks after the 2nd chemo, and it didn’t seem worth it for the extra time it added onto my chemo days.I didn’t shave my head because the fringe, side hair and all the hair on the nape of my neck stayed there, weirdly , so when wearing hats, buffs, etc, it didn’t look like I was slowly losing the rest! Now I have just a few hairs for a fringe, but, oh joy, I can see all the new hair coming all over my head:-) It’s a massive thing for every woman, I think, I don’t know a single woman who seriously isn’t bothered about losing their hair ( I could be wrong?) but everyone is wearing silly hats in this weather, so you can wear your gorgeous one with pride!
Just a thought, most wigs are brilliant, too, I got mine on the good old NHS, (I’m wearing it my photo on here) and it is so much like my own colour and style, that my friends who hadn’t seen me for a while honestly thought I’d just been to the hairdressers!
My eyebrows and eyelashes thinned, but didn’t abandon me altogether, we are all different.
You will get some good advice and support on here, pinkrose,