Hair loss

Just wondered, does everyone lose their hair on FEC? Are there any stats on this subject?

My oncologist blamed the taxotere rather than the FEC, if you use the cold cap. I have been in touch with Paxman, a cold cap manufacturer, and their research seems to song gets that up to 50% of people using the cold cap with Taxotere can still keep their hair, although I think the stronger the dose (I think it is 50, 75 or 100) the less chance there is of keeping your hair. I am going to try it regardless. The Paxman site does have a table with stats, with and without te cap, so worth aloof at. Hope this helps and good luck!

Hi Rollercoaster,

Have you seen BCC’s publication on FEC chemo?  If not I’ve put you the link below and hope you find it helpful.  Don’t be afraid to ask anything here the users of this site have a wealth of knowledge between them, plus there’s also our helpline staff if you need to talk to someone in confidence, 0808 800 6000

Take care,

Jo, Moderator

Hi Rollercoaster,

I lost my hair 3 weeks after my first Cycle of Fec, was told from the outset by my Oncoligist it would happen. It was actually a relief as my scalp became sore x

Hi Rollercoaster

I have just finished 6 cycles of FEC and used the cold cap throughout with success. My hair is thinner and very wispy as I haven’t been able to blow dry it but I still have it!!! My advice would be, if you can tolerate the cap then go for it. Good luck x

I’m starting on FEC on Wednesday so obviously very interested to read comments on this.  I’ve already told my oncol that I would like to try the cold cap so will see how that goes.  At the moment feeling very apprehensive about the cycles so hoping the next four or so months go quickly.

Hi There,

Im on cycle 4 of 6 xFEC-T and cold capping. Ive lost a bit each dose although its not been patches or clumps, more lots of strands.


So far its working although i have thinned a lot on top, its ok at teh sides, back and fringe, although im told you cant really tell i think its obvious… It is hard to face each time and does make the treatment longer, but im not having to wear scarcves etc so i think its worthwhile continuing.


Hair doesnt look great as you cant wash or style it, so really its whether you can bear a bad hair day everyday for 5 months, although im assuming once chemo is over, it will improve.

Morning Dogmad

Your reply to this thread is really helpful for me as I finished FEC 2 weeks ago and cold capped throughout. I’ve lost about 50% of my hair. I wash it twice weekly with Johnsons baby shampoo and conditioner, pat it dry then leave well alone. I’m not sure when I can use my hairdryer or revert to my conventional shampoo/conditioner though-any suggestions please. Thanks very much.

Thank you Dogmad 84. I usually have my hair coloured but obviously haven’t had this done since March. I’m now completely grey but the colour’s growing on me (no pun intended!) so I may stay grey. I will carry on with the baby shampoo/conditioner and wear my Baker Boy hats when I go out. Take care x

Sorry I’ve not contributed this last week.  Good to read comments that have been posted in the meantime.  I had my 1st cycle of FEC 8 days ago and unfortunately suffered very badly from it.  Thankfully now under control until cycle 2.  The scalp cooling cap was much better than expected.  The worst part for me was when the nurse took it off as I had not thought about ice on my hair.  I’m not a headache person but also developed an enormous headache but will be prepared next time.  The three hours went quickly by as the nurse was sat with me the majority of the time putting the chemo into my cannula.  Apparently some of the nurses have been trained in newer techniques so will wait and see what happens in a couple of weeks.  Again I had taken earphones to listen to music and a book to read but never thought that I could not put earphones or my glasses on so was extremely grateful to have the nurse with me as we talked over the chemo, daily life, etc.  I was advised to use Simple shampoo.  I had previously purchased Baby shampoo but was told it was too harsh due to its soap content and told not to use a conditioner.  Also advised to wash only once per week, comb very gently once a day and avoid dying/perming for 3 months after.  They advised not to have it cut - wished I’d know that before - but as someone wrote on here I’ve spoken to my hairdresser and he is doing an old fashioned dry cut next week using my wide tooth comb.  Also recommended to wear a hairnet whilst sleeping to avoid knotting of the hair and if possible a silk/sation pillowcase.  Hospital did say that research now shows using scalp cooling (and this may depend on the manufacturer of the scalp cooling I suppose) with fec there is an 89% chance of not loosing hair - will wait and see.  Trust you all go on okay and thanks for all your input.  Good luck.

Hi, I started out using a coldcap and I do feel that it did help slow down hair loss , so I would recommend it . I had mainly thining around my crown so I was able to cover it with a scarf worn like a headband, rather than a full scarf covering. But I stopped using a cold cap  though on session 3 of FEC, just because the whole process and time involved was getting too much for me. After that I noticed my hair loss was more rapid. I’ve just completed session 4 (switched to Docataxel) and because the hair loss is more extreme have decided to get rid of it all - attacked it with the kitchen scissors the other day and this morning, and I have a hairdresser coming on Saturday to shave it all off:)

Hi Melly and welcome to the BCC forums
Along with the support and shared experiences you will soon have here our helpliners are on hand with practical and emotional support so please feel free to call on 0808 800 6000, lines are open 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Saturdays

Here’s a couple of links to the BCC hair loss information and further support for you:

Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi MellyJP

When I cold capped, there were times when I seemed to lose alot of hair but like you, others didn’t seem to notice. I considered giving it up  after my first cycle of chemo as I didn’t think it was working. However, my chemo Nurse told me if it wasn’t working, I would have lost nearly all of my hair after the first cycle.  I can’t say if this will be the same for you but it might be worth hanging in there. Now nearly 3 weeksa after finishing chemo, my hair is quite thin but seems to be thickening and growing quicker than I thought. Hope this helps x

Unfortunately for me just 3 weeks and 3 days after starting chemo and using the Paxman scalp cooling cap just twice my hair has fallen out big time.  I’ve followed all the advise given but now visited my hairdresser so that he could shave. my hair. 

For those still using the cooling cap do not give up as it might just work successfully for you.  Good luck.