Starting FEC on Tuesday - Question bout hair!

Worried about loosing my hair…when does it generally start to fall out? I know everybody is different :slight_smile: how soon after the 1st chemo session will I start to feel ill? Weight gain? Change in tastebuds?

Any comments appreciated, thank you.

Hello Bung,

As you already know, everyone is different, and not everyone gets the same side effects. The only one you will get for certain is the hair loss, but when that happens varies from person to person. I think the norm is in the third week of the first cycle. You may not feel very ill, you may not gain weight and you may not lose your taste buds, but if you do have any of these they are all temporary and manageable.

Good luck xxx

Hi Bung. I’m on Day 15 of my first cycle of FEC. I’ve been really lucky and have had hardly any SEs apart from a few days of chronic squits, which I spoke to the onc team about and which has now been sorted out with some immodium. I also had a day of flu like symptoms which was because of the injections I had. I’ve been really lucky. Hopefully you will be too. Today is the day my hair has very noticeably started falling out. It will probably be gone by the end of next week.
If you do get any bad SEs don’t put up with them, make sure you contact your team because they do want to know and they will be able to give you meds to control them.
The waiting for SEs is the hard part. Good luck. x

hi Bung please join us august girls we have someone starting next Tues too and we have a right laugh on our thread.
have a look at the thread called anyone starting chemo in august and jump on board!!!

hope to hear from you soon x

Hello Bung,
I had my last EC just over a week ago.
Chances are you will feel sick on FEC so do take the anti sickness and steroids as prescribed. Don’t wait until you feel sick - it’s too late then. The other down side is that the anti-sickness meds may make you constipated. But don’t suffer, contact your chemo unit or GP for whatever they recommend to get you moving! Don’t forget that all your prescriptions are free because of the bc.
As Lola says, hair loss will happen about day 17-20. Get ready with the clippers. You could, if your unit offers it, try the cold cap. Some people get on with it really well but you do need to plan on spending an extra 2-3 hours at the chemo unit each time.
Different taste buds come and go over the course of the cycle. For a couple of days you won’t taste sweet things, then it’ll be the salty taste that goes. By week three things are usually back to normal, but everyone is different. Keep a diary and after a couple of cycles you’l see a pattern emerging and will be prepared to deal with it.
The E in FEC is epirubicin and it plays havoc with your veins if you are having your infusion by cannular. Try to get a really good flush of saline afterwards.
Weight gain is mostly blamed on the steroids - I was told half a stone, which is what I’ve put on but a few others seem to not have got off quite so lightly!
Finally, don’t worry too much about chemo. It’s horrible but you’ll come through the other end. There’s a lot of support out there. One of the best things I did was joining the April chemo thread. Have you joined the August thread? Have a look in latest posts. They’ll be there. xx

Hi Bung
I start on Tuesday too but having Tax so do join the August thread and we can compare notes!


I was on FEC from Jan-May this year and tolerated it very well. My hair went very quickly. I used clippers as I was tired of eating hair off my pillow. I didn’t need the anti-sickness or the steroidsother than that given intravenously with the infusion. A dry mouth was the worst side effect, I was prescribed Gelclair(mouth wash sachets) which lubricated the mucous membrane in my mouth. If you get ulcers Difflam spray gives you temporary relief from pain while you eat your meals. I also used Corsadyl mouthwash (without alcohol) to keep my mouth healthy.
I really hope you are as lucky as I was.


Hi Bung
I’ve had 5 out 0f 6 cycles of FEC, the last one is due next week. I have cold capped and so far kept most of my hair, its just very thin now. I have been fortunate with se. My biggest problems have been dry mouth with altered taste for about 10 days post treatment and fatigue which has steadily got worse over the months. I had one bout of vomiting and my anti emetic was changed to Emend with no further vomiting though I do get some mild nausea but thats manageable. I also get the squits for about 12 hours exactly 1 week after chemo-very wierd! My onc says its the chemo stripping the lining of the gut-nice!!! Hope you get few se’s, chemo isnt’t a walk in the park but its doable. Good luck x

Bung- I lost my hair in handfuls on day 17 of FEC-T Cycle 1. I was left with a little rim of stray hairs around my fringe, sideboards and neck. This made my headscarves and my wig look more natural! Just after my third FEC I noticed my hair had started to grown back- just about 1 cm all around. That was a relief because when I have finished Chemo and Op I go back onto Letrazole which can hold up hair growth. It really is worth looking into wigs if you can bear it- the ones available on the NHS through (paid) prescription were very good and I found one that fit my huge head and that I can carry on wearing while my hair grows out.

Weight gain: I put on half a stone through going back to eating wholemeal bread with everything to keep me regular. But I a, still the right BMI so I am not too worried about it.

Taste buds: Just had my first Taxotere which is the one which is supposed to give you a funny taste/tastelessness/numbness in the mouth. This is day 4 and all is well but it is early days. On FEC I found smells and tastes which I normally love were making me feel nauseated but that is gradually going.

Good luck with the Amazing Augusts!

Hi Bung,

I was very lucky in that I didn’t have any sickness or nausea at all while on FEC. Had a big bald patch by day 15 and lost ALL my hair by day 17. Wishing you very good luck and hope your SEs are minimal.

Poemsgalore xxx

Hi bung I’m day 19 after first session of FEC-T hair is shedding but only small amounts of strands at moment not at all noticeable to others at present, I did cold cap and intend to persevere with it as long as I can, saw my onc yesterday and she said by now it would have been well on the way to gone without the cap. I felt a bit rubbish for abou 5 days mainly queasiness and constipation, also couldn’t tolerate cooking smells , had a sore rough palate for a few days too but that cleared up quickly with cordysol mouthwash, consider myself really lucky after reading some of the posts from ladies who are suffering much more, nobody is exactly the same it seems, hope yours are minimal and remember whatever your imagining will be far worse than what it is, it’s not the nicest of treatments but as most will tell you it is doable good luck for Tuesday Lynda x

The main ones I got on FEC were:
1/ Nausea and Vomiting - starting somewhere between the evening of the day of chemo (day 1) to the afternoon of day 2 - it varied. By the afternoon of day 3, it was a little better, but still bad. By day 4, not so bad. Day 5 largely over it. Day 6 to day 21 - fine.
Nausea and Vomiting is relatively common, so don’t plan any social events until after day 6 until you are sure you are not going to get it. It tends to follow a similar pattern through all the cycles.
2/ Hair loss from day 15 onwards. Get those clippers ready!
3/ Constipation from day 2 to day 5. I took Movical from day 2 until it cleared up (usually by day 6). Don’t leave it until you are well blocked!
4/ Diarrhea came and went - much less predictable.
FEC is very doable - the nausea is the worst, but you may not get it and if you do it is only for a few days and it starts to get better within 24 hours of the peak.

Hi Bung…I found it useful to keep a diary starting on day 1…used it as a medication reminder, to jot down side effects, how I was feeling, work days and planning treats! It helped to look back each cycle so that I could anticipate what to expect as the old memory wasn’t too reliable!!!

As everyone has said we all react differently to chemo, and no-one can predict how you personally will be affected; that’s how a diary can help you to manage. One of the more common side effects that seems to affect everyone is the cumulative tiredness as treatment progresses and takes a toll on your body. So look after yourself, or better still let others spoil you :slight_smile:

Don’t over-prepare as the chemo unit should prescribe all the meds you will need, and you will work out what tastes acceptable/disgusting if/when your taste buds are affected. The same with wigs/hats/scarves…if possible wait until your hair has gone before trying wigs on. Mine was soooo big that it couldn’t be made smaller or returned, so I only wore it once, hanging on for dear life as terrified it would go flying off!! Wore a lovely variety of hats for 6 months instead which was much more comfortable.
Take care and all the best for your treatment x

Thank you ever so much to everyone who has shared their experiences and advice. I have taken it all on board :slight_smile:

Hi Bung
Regarding your hair, i would advise getting it cut really short so that you feel more in control as it falls out. i did it, and i dont regret it. i couldnt bear the thought of long strands of my hair falling out. i had a grade 4 the day before first chemo.
also, i lost weight since starting chemo. A whole dress size down from a 14 to a 12. Taste buds alter through the cycle so have salty foods available if you need them.
but the main thing is this, I would rather be bald then have the risk of cancer left in me! I got used to the hair loss surprisingly quickly.
good Luck. Remember chemo is more doable then you could imagine.

Your words are encouraging I have a appointment with oncologist Wednesday 15th August scared keep reading the threads don’t know if I can be that brave time will tell!!

Hi Bung, I had 3 x FEC 100 and it’s fine.  The hospital should give you plenty of stuff to help you in case of sickness, and I’d advise you take it even if you think you feel fine.  They also gave me Emend which sometimes in the UK isn’t given because it’s very expensive.  But if you can, insist on it.  It takes the form of 3 tablets, one you take immediately after chemo just as they detach you, then the other two one each morning.  I live in France and was given them as a matter of course, but do ask for them if they’re not dished out to you.  Everyone is different on Chemo but the good thing I found and a lot of other people I know found is that the effects only last about 4 days so just take the tablets, and make a note if you have any other symptoms and tell your BCN.  I shaved my head before starting simply because you don’t want to wake up with a load of hair in your mouth each morning.  If you haven’t done that, it depends but usually it seems to happen between the first and second session.  Tidier to get rid of it, and like everyone else I’ve got used to it now, although I’m at the other end and my hair is growing back.  :catlol:  Good luck with the chemo, and the hair :catvery-happy:

Hi Bung,


I had FEC-T and kept a blog detailing my experience throughout the whole thing. If you fancy a read it’s here:


A specific post re getting through chemo that might help is here: 


Best of luck,


Jelly xx

Hey I had FEC-T last Jan - May, I did try the cold cap but found it increased session by quite a long time, about 2 weeks after first session I started to lose my hair. After a few days of pulling it out of bath plug, my families meals and my clothes I got out the shaver and shaved my head! To me although incredibly scary it was also a big relief, I went out that afternoon and did the groceries…crazy I know but I found that just doing and dealing was easier than sitting worrying…we are all different tho xx