How quickly does hair loss happen after first treatment?

I start chemotherapy next Wednesday. First cycle of fec. How long will it take before hair starts to fall out? Is it overnight? I’ve ordered some items from Anna Bandana but not had the chop yet … don’t know whether to go to a hairdresser or get a mobile one at home … any ideas?? Loathed to spend a fortune on a cut when I won’t have it for very long ?

Hi Emma111,


Sometimes it may depend on your treatment, as well as your general health.


I had my hair cut Sinead O’Connor style, a couple of weeks before my treatment. I am on 6 x FEC and now on day 8 past FEC number 2.


About half way through the first cycle I started ‘shedding’ and by the time I started on number 2 about 50%- 60% of my hair had gone.


Looking in the mirror now - I would say I have perhaps just about 10% left, if that.


If this is something that troubles you, or you have a challenge with, a lot of help and advice is available and I am also happy to support you with this. I shall try and answer your questions to the best of my ability and share my, as well as others exeriences with you, if you wish.



Sue xx 



Hi Emma, mine started to fall out around day 13 after first FEC and took until at least another 3 - 4 weeks until it was mostly all gone. I’d had it cut short before chemo, then when it started falling out I had it cut to a grade 3. I started to wear headscarves as soon as it started to shed, mainly to stop the hair from going everywhere! My head felt spiky and prickly when the hair was falling out so I was glad when it was gone!! I loved my Annabandana headscarves ?
Loads of good luck with your treatment - I’m out the otherside now (started chemo in Jan) and looking in the mirror every day inspecting my new hair growth!!
Kim xxx

Thank you both so much for your sharing that with me. I’ve just ordered a load of different items on anna bandana. Thought I felt ok about it all but heart was pounding while ordering!! Just want rid of my hair now so I can concentrate on everything else. How are you both feeling generally on FEC? Were you petrified at having treatment and how do you feel about it now in comparison?? Xx

Hi Emma

I decided I wasnt having a chop so I kept my just below shoulder length hair till it started to fall out on day 16 after my first EC. I then just shaved it off GI Jane style.I personally would have found getting my hair cut shorter harder to deal with than just staying “me” till the last available moment.
This whole process is about what you need and want to do for you

I was OK with chemo and had pratically no side effects I to quote my doctor “sailed through it” some ladies do. The build up is way worse than the actual treatment I had chemo from the start of Nov15 to the end of Mar 16 I wouldnt want to do it again but it wasnt as bad as I thought itd be

Sending you hugs

Jen x

Hi Emma. I started to mildly shed from around day 19 then the fall ramped up a lot from day 22 - day of second chemo when I was putting the conditioner in my hair in the hospital loo as was still trying to cold cap at that time. I nearly blocked the hospital bathroom sink! About three days later larger clumps started to fall out on my crown and that’s when I decided to give up on the cold cap and went for the shave. 


Almost five months after my last chemo I’ve got pretty good covering on my head and actually quite like my short crop. 


Like Jen, I’ve been lucky and got through chemo without too much drama. Tiredness during certain periods was the worst thing for me but it was nowhere near as bad as I anticipated. I hope it goes well for you.


Ruth xx

Although I’m obviously glad it’s all over (!) the side effects I had from FEC were at worst feeling dizzy and hungover for about 3-4 days and tiredness. Everyone is different but in nearly all cases everyone seems to have at least one good week when they can get out and about. It really is a case of see how you are for the first one and never be shy of asking for extra medication to help you through any side effects you might have.
I also recommend joining in with the June 2016 monthly chemo starters thread. I was part of the Jan 2016 thread and we really did support eachother through it and have been celebrating each other as we reached our milestones ?

My advice is just do what your body tells you. Sleep when needed and keep on top of your meds! The one trick I found best was having a sick bucket by my bed instead of going to the bathroom every time I felt nauseous. I found it more like motion sickness every time I stood up I felt queasy but with having the bucket didn’t need to stand and wasn’t sick anymore.
Also use the phone number they give you if you have any queries x

Hi Em my advise also would be to definitely join the June 16 thread. These ladies will all be on rather same journey as you and you will find strength in each other.
I am from April 14 thread and 5 of us still communicate and are having our second meet up next month! We talk about far more than cancer now!?
Dealing with hair loss is up to the individual. My hairdresser offered to shave my head but I couldn’t stand the thought of that so just had it cut short! I was having chemo on a 2 weekly cycle and it was the 19 day when I noticed the first shedding! I had a burning sensation on my scalp prior to the shedding. I wore a bandana at night to avoid sleeping in hair!! I t doesn’t fall out all in one go it happens over several weeks. Bald patches appear and this is when you may want to go down the route of a wig or just use headscarves! I was more comfortable in a bandana or headscarf and kept a wig for important occasions like my YS’s wedding!!!
Good luck one benefit of hair loss is that you won’t need any waxing done this summer!!!?

My hair did fall out in one fell swoop on day 16 I woke up nearly bald so if this happens dont worry too. I went to sleep with a full head of hair and woke up with a sort of mohawk. Join the June thread and since you are starting later in the month keep the July ladies company too.
I made a point of putting a bowl by the bed before I headed off to chemo so I didnt have to get out of bed and run if I felt sick I never used it. I lived in a little bamboo hat with a flower on the side from the net and I never wore my wig till long after chemo had finished and I had it styled so it looked better and less wiggy.

Its scary starting chemo but it is doable and lots of us who have done it are here to help you through xx

Wow, you really do all sound amazing going through this! I’ve been treating next wed (first day of treatment) like the end of the world, panicking I’ll be violently sick for days and so weak I’ll be unable to move or open my eyes … but I’m hoping I can be as amazing as you all are. Still feels weirdest feeling anticipating being ill so if I can be even as half amazing as you lot are on here I’ll be in a better place xxx

Thanks so much Sue. I really hope I can be as helpful to people as you are when I am having treatment. Really glad you have your appetite, def helps keep your strength up.

Thank goodness for the Internet. This would be such a lonely and much scarier time without this site. I used to be on Facebook all the time; but now this is the only site I’m interested in. It’s horrible to think anyone else is going through this but nice to know we can all stick together and help each other through; it makes a massive difference. My family and friends have been absolutely amazing but knowing there are others out there going through this and coping so well is so encouraging and reassuring xx

Hi Emma,


I’m Day 11 of my first FEC cycle and my hair is falling thick and fast today.  I’ve had a headache for two days and my scalp has felt incredibly sensitive - almost alive which is ironic as the follicles are dying!  Tonight a friend is coming round with clippers and I’m having it all shaved off.  I’m hoping it’ll relieve the headache but more importantly, it makes me feel a little more in control.


And do join us in June 2016 - we’re very friendly :slight_smile:


All the best,

B x

Thank you to everyone for your support and advice. I’m having the chop Tuesday next week …6 days after treatment begins. I’ve ordered headwear from Anna Bandana which should arrive before. Think I’ll be glad when hair is gone as one less thing to think about. Now just thinking about starting treatment on Wednesday ?

Morning all,
Woke up this morning and the strands are coming away quite a lot! Think I knew as my scalp felt very sensitive yesterday evening.
Going for my wig tomorrow but apparently they order them in for you! So not sure how long I’m going to have to wait.
My boys are getting their hair cut Thursday night so think I will be joining them for a grade 3!! Really nervous xx