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Hair growth post treatment

41 REPLIES 41
January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Thank you all for your comments. Hearing that some of you have had improvements long after chemo has finished has cheered me up. I had a 'smidgen' cut off mine today, my hairdresser said it made it look thicker. I am not sure about that but it certainly looks tidier. I would be grateful if you ladies would post on here occasionally. It is nice to know I am not alone.

elinda45
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

I had thick, v. fast growing, straight, shiny hair prior to chemo. I'm now 2.5 years post chemo and have very, very thick hair - more so than before and it's wavy rather than straight as it was before and it is now shiny again. On the minus side it's got masses more grey but that might have happened anyway.

It didn't get like this overnight though. For the first two years I kept my hair very short and it grew incredibly slowly. Dixons - I frequently had that discomfort you describe but that has eventually gone. My hair growth was also very patchy to start with which is why I kept getting it cut, also the first lot of hair was very dry and lacklustre. My hair didn't actually start growing properly and at the speed it did pre chemo until about 5 months ago.

My eyebrows and eyelashes didn't fully recover though. Have got a lot more facial hair to make up for it sadly! Elinda x

Nonny
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Three years post TAC chemo, very thin hair, almost bald at back. Keep my hair cut very short with bright red streaks. No eyebrows, had some tattood. Sparse eyelashes. Hair on arms and legs never did come back (saves on shaving), body hair never quite recovered either!
It's all a bit of a pig, but I'm still here and having fun.
Good luck and love to all
Nonny

dixons
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

i finished chemo in april 2011 and have about 3 inches of hair and it looks a mess i cannot go out without my wig. my concern is the pain i have on my scalp. it actually hurts like it did when i lost my hair.does anyone else have this problem

supertrouper
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

I finished chemo at the end of November last year, hair was beginning to appear but very patchy with large bald areas. I decided to shave my head for the last time on New Years day. Now I have hair very similar to Sinead O'Connor and there are no bald bits. The hair is a lot darker than it used to be but I have read that sometimes it comes back a different colour. Eyebrows are coming back and eyelashes. Nasal hairs must be back as my nose has finally stopped running.

I rub Emu oil into my scalp every night and started using an eyelash serum a few months ago.

janipi
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hairwatch update. 10 months post chemo. Now a thin covering over back bald patch. Also some stubble felt towards the front near forehead so hopefuly will fill in the gaps soon. Hair is very fine and wispy. I look in the mirror and am still shocked at my appearance. Hoping for a full head of hair by this coming October as my daughter is getting married. fingered crossed. Some eyelashes now and one eyebrow. Plenty where I don't need it!!! :)x

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

How are you ladies with slow growth doing? I am now 9 months post chemo and still have just a thin covering of hair round the sides a bit on top and next to nothing on the sides. I feel that what began growing last August has continued to grow albeit very slowly now about an inch long but no new follicles have sprung into life. I look every day which is pointless but can't help myself. Is there anyone who was like this but then suddenly normal growth resumed.

beverlie
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Thanks for the news on hairwatch, I'm obviously too impatient now that the 'nasty' stuff is done with.

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi topsymo

I am being treating at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Some older women are given Tamoxifen for health reasons. In my case my bones are showing signs of osteophorosis.

GIJaneH
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi Beverlie... I was ten weeks post chemo before I even saw a follicle! and, like you, I really wondered if it was ever going to come back.... Like you, I had some over the ears and at the back, but the rest was the odd hair here and there. It's got a full covering now, is JUST long enough to show that it's going to be curly and wilful. you WILL get there! love Jane

jaynek
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi all

I finished my chemo last February (2011) and only unveiled a very short hairstyle in October last year (2011)! I am also on Herceptin. I have to say I have since had it cut again and it appears to be growing much more quickly and thickening out! A bit curly which I am desperately trying to straighten out! I was very impatient, but it did happen. I hope that this helps those who are a bit behind me in the journey. Take care all. J.

topsymo
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi Beverlie- if you only finished treatment in September it is very early days for you to get anxious about your hair: I 'm sure you will find that it will re-grow

January - I never completely lost my eyebrows and eye lashes and they have re-grown, as has the hair on the rest of my body- but it is pretty sparse.
I was never very 'hairy' and had very fair eyebrows so that wasn't such an issue for me.

Incidentally I am interested that you are on Tamoxifen- I thought that Femara and Arimidex were now the drugs of choice for post menopausal women. Which hospital is treating you?

beverlie
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi,
I finished my chemo in Sept and seem to experience same as you ladies. I am on Herceptin and Tamoxifen at the moment.

I have a covering over ears and around the back of head with a definate mohican style strip on the top of my head, with two huge bald patches, with a few hair follicles poking out.

I mentioned this to my onc in Dec and she said 'it will come back' nover know it not to?? It doesn't look or feel like it is going to come back for me.

My brows have come back and lashes are getting there (I lost them all), they are still too short to apply mascara yet - without it looking like I've done a bad job.

I'm going to see what happens over next couple of months, and maybe try to get something to apply topically to help. Any suggestions?

I went on holiday just before xmas to Tenerife, I just wore a multitude of cotton scarves by day and for dipping in the pool in and my wigs at night. I didn't feel self-conscious at all really and nobody really gawped, I just made sure that I said 'good morning' in my chirpiest voice to anyone who caught my gaze, seemed to put them at ease and they usually came over to chat for a while.

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi topsymo

I forgot to ask. Do you have eyebrows and eyelashes. My eyebrows did not disappear until after the last Taxotere. I did not lose all of them but not much has grown since. There are some very short eyelashes. Hair elsewhere seems to be growing ok although it is very fine like my head hair.

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi topsymo

I saw my Oncologist yesterday. He tells me the problem with hair regrowth is so rare that it is not mentioned for fear of scaremongering! According to him the incidence is less than 1%. He also said it was not necessarily the Taxotere to blame and could be caused by the Tamoxifen. I find this hard to believe. Although I know of one or two people who say their hair has thinned whilst taking oestrogen inhibitors, there is a big difference between slight thinning and almost bald. In his defence he listened to all I had to say and promised to look into the incidence level which I told him I had read was around 6%.

On the practical side he had no suggestions other than to face the world as I am! He did say it might grow.

So all I can do is hope and take some encouragement from the ladies I have read about on this thread who do eventually get some hair at least.

I find this site a godsend although at the moment there only seems to be the two of us with this problem.

So glad your hair is thicker now I hope it continues to improve.

topsymo
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi January- have just returned from a party where we met up with old friends and they have assured me that my hair is definitely thicker than when we last met in the summer - so all I can say is, don't despair: Your hair MAY come back even if it takes as long as mine has done.
My hair pattern is just like yours- typical male pattern baldness with some (thin) hair on the sides and at the back but really, really sparse on the crown and at the front.....and I certainly never had any stubble!

I agree with you that the oncologists absolutely gloss over the possibility of one's hair not re-growing - and yet I am sure it is not such a rarity with we 'older' women. I also agree with you that I would have gone for the cold cap if I had had advice in this.
My oncologist and BCN both said that it was unusual for people's hair not to re-grow and the onc made light of it- well HE would wouldn't he?!
Best wishes for a more hirsute 2012

supertrouper
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

It is five weeks since my last Tax chemo. Today I have shaved my head for the last time - what was beginning to grow back was patchy, very very fine and mostly white! I thought that New Years Day is a good day to start again and I will keep a photo diary of the progress. Following advice that I have read in this forum, I have purchased some Emu oil and I will massage that into my scalp twice a day. I did this after shaving my head today and it felt nice.

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi topsymo

What I am aiming for at the moment is for the whole of my scalp to have sufficient hair not to appear bald. There is rim of hair at the back and sides but the crown and top look more or less bald especially from a distance. I suppose what I am describing is male type baldness. Unlike many ladies I have never felt anything like 'stubble' just this very fine covering of baby like hair. I only wear the wig when I go out and take it off as soon as I return home.It is quite a nice wig and everyone says it looks good but it is not particularly comfortable especially during hot weather.
By the way I have already tried Alpecin but as expected it has had no effect at all. My GP said she had never come across this problem and her only suggestion was to try Regaine which she said I could buy over the counter.

Another question. Have you been on any holidays where you have had a daily dip in the pool. I guess you just leave off the wig and put up with being looked at?

I have an appointment with Oncology next week. I am not expecting any help there but I do think we should have been forewarned that this can happen. I would have asked if there was an alternative drug and probably tried the cold cap.

topsymo
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi January
It sounds as if your hair is different from mine; mine was always thick and wavy with a tendency to frizz! It was never fine, as it is now. I' II think I have just lost a huge number of hair follicles- probably permanently - or at least until I come off Arimidex. Both my parents had 'good' hair until they died at 80 and 92 as have my brothers aged 67 and 75 so I know it's not genetic
As I've said previously, it is just luck- bad luck in yours and my case!

I wonder if you have experienced the well-meaning comments of friends and relatives who have seen you wigless and periodically assured you that your hair is definitely thicker and growing? If all the encouragement I have had was translated into actual hair growth I think I would rival Rapunzel by now!

Several people have suggested that wig- wearing discourages new hair growth but unless you are wearing the wig 24/7 I really do not think that it makes an iota of difference. Neither do I have much faith in more-expensive-than-usual shampoos and conditioners; I don't think they make any difference at all, apart from making you feel a bit more 'pampered' .

I really think your best friend is a good hairdresser-one who is interested in your plight and encouraging: I had to change from my previous one and try 2 others before I found a really good person- who surprise, surprise has BC herself( though never had chemotherapy so didn't experience hair loss)
I really thought I would have to wear a wig for ever but am now 3 years on and never wear one. My hair has thickened a little - albeit very slowly - just when I thought it never would.
I can't say I am happy with my appearance & I continue to mourn the 'old me', but I try to accept that this is how it is- and am really trying to stop boring my nearest and dearest by asking 'how does my hair look" more than once in a while!!

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi topsymo

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me especially so close to Christmas.
In answer to your questions I was almost 67 when diagnosed a year ago. I am taking Tamoxifen not Arimidex. Before the treatment I had fine hair but masses of it, my hairdressers took the thinning scissors to it every few months. It is such a shock to find my hair not growing as I had no idea this might happen. I take encouragement from the fact you are now able to go wigless. The hair that I have seems to grow ok and probably needs trimming but it is so sparse and thin there really is no coverage of the scalp and I wouldn't dream of going out without a wig. Did yours gradually get thicker or has it always been much the same and you have grown used to it?

January

topsymo
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi January - if you read back on this thread you will see that there are a few of us whose hair has never re-grown to anything like its former thickness and texture.

It's 3 years since I had my last chemotherapy and started on Arimidex and until 6 months ago I was still wearing a wig full-time. I just could not come to terms with my thin and whispy appearance( my hair that is - unfortunately the rest of me is not so thin and whispy!) ....but this summer I decided that I really couldn't face wearing a wig for the rest of my days and would just have to face the world au natural!

After several false starts I have now found a really good hairdresser- a brilliant "cutter' who cuts my hair regularly and achieves wonders ! It is important to keep the hair short as I think you will find that the back and sides will grow and thus emphasise the lack of hair on the crown and at the front.
The hair on my crown is very sparse & I hate to see my pink scalp showing through but I am trying to accept the fact that it iss unlikely to improve -certainly not while I'm on Arimidex. How old are you and are you on Arimidex? If so, I think you are like me -experiencing a combination of age, the drugs and bad luck . It IS depressing but there are worse things ......

January
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

I have been scouring this site to find someone else whose hair is not growing back as expected. I am 7 months post chemo now and still only have a thin covering of hair. It took 3 months to get started and that which came in has continued to grow. No coverage of the scalp though especially on the crown and top. Is there anyone out there who had this experience? Better still is there anyone whose hair grew in a similar pattern to mine?

alesta29
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Eich

Ive done 3 FEC and 1 of 3 TAX. I had quite a bit of fluff coming through but like you, I can easily pull it out. Was wondering whether to keep shaving it off until I'm finished chemo else I'm being lulled into a false sense of regrowth that is going to stay!

Laurie x

Magda
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi I'm about 12 wks post chemo and my hair has grown back well. I actually really like the look and am going to keep it very short as it looks quiite chic. Must say though I'm silver / grey and I'm not going to dye it anymore.
I have been juicing loads of veg and fruit now for the last few months and my hair, nails and skin are all better than before so something at least to smile about! 🙂

sparkleybelle
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

hiya,
regrowth is evident now, but still look like sygouney weaver off alien,
or maybe just the alien?? my head feels like velvet, it is a mixed bag of colours though!
still wearing a wig but am hoping by xmas i should be ok to go without,
i STRONGLY recommend the emu oil though, massage 2-3 times a day is a good thing according to my nurse who used to be a hair transplant nurse
so she should know.

hugs

Rach1979
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hiya
I am three and a half months post chemo, the hair is growing back thicker and better pre chemo.......yes I hate it being short however its coming back thick and fast. The tamoxifen definately has not halted its growth. I did however shave off all the fuzz one month post chemo, so the better healthy hair comes through.
Rach
xx

hipchick
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

my hair started to come back after fec 5. Sort of wispy wizard's hair, all crinkly and very thin. Then the real stuff started to appear and the wizard's hair started to drop out. At one stage I looked like a baby orangutan. It's a bit male pattern baldness style but the receding bits are starting to fill in. Can't wait to have a cut and colour. One day I shall be blonde again.

Eich
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi everyone - Just been reading everyones experiences re hair regrowth post chemo. I am 3 weeks post chemo and my hair is coming back very fine - its about 0.5 - 1 cm in length, but is too fine to determine what colour its going to be yet!! i am 36 and I used to have v long blonde hair and am v nervous about going short and peoples reaction to it. A little worried that the Tamoxifen will halt or slow the re growth, but not a lot to be gloomy about considering some of the posts made by others. I was wondering if anyone like me, is able to pull out the 'new hair' coming through? i have noticed that i am able to do this with worrying ease!!!!!!

sparkleybelle
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

sparkleybelle

sparkleybelle says on 23 Sep 2011 15:00
hi,
oh my lord yes,
its such a relief to see something positive for a change.
i will never moan about a 'bad hair day' ever ever ever ever ..........

again.

hugs
izzy

GIJaneH
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

I agree with ouu about colour/texture - as long as it's HAIR! I'm 8.5 weeks post chemo and JUST beginning to feel (rather than see) a fuzz this week..... Big relief! as long as SOMETHING's happening, it's better than nothing! Jane

sparkleybelle
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

hi all,
4 weeks past last tax, doing herceptin 3 week cycles.
watery eyes seem to be improving but i have had a weeks worth of diurectics to shift fluid.
also, dare i whisper, a grey fuzz might just be appearing on my poor bald head.................... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i DO NOT CARE WHAT COLOUR/TEXTURE IT IS AS LONG AS ITS HAIR.
ps. am using emu oil am and pm and blue ease cream and KLB6 and multivitamins /minerals.

hugs to all

Midge
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

i finished chemo last oct and am on herceptin. my hair is thick around the sides but v thin on top. look like i have a comb over. colouring it made it slightly better, but the fine hairs took the colour differently and i look v ginge on top and brown at the sides, not a good look. a bit too Ron Weasley. i thought i would be ok by now but am not. i teach sen kids and have to tell them not to spend too long each session staring at my bald spots.

am currently trying alpecin only on my bald patches, worth a try i thought. i have already tried lush, aveda abundance shampoo and conditioner. Have ordered some emu oil as recommended by penny brohn. who knows, but am prepared to try as my hair keeps me feeling like a chemo patient.

sorry to hear about your problems tigerlily. i really hope you find something that helps.

good luck. debx

oscarbailey
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi Tigerlilly,
I am in the same boat, finished chemo 12 months ago.
Whilst on tamoxifen it started to come back, but very slowly and thin.
I was then put on zoladex injections in addition, and it seems to have stopped growing - or at least even slower.
I tried not wearing my wig after a really hot day, but felt that I looked like a fat man wearing make-up... so got myself a really short wig.
With winter coming I have decided to give it another 6 months before panicking.
Marguerite

sparkleybelle
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

hi,tigerlilly,
this thread has articulated my fear and dread, no doubt for many other women too.
i'm 3 weeks past last tax and am eagerly anticipating regrowth.
i simply do not know what i will do if it fails to appear after a year,
so very sorry to hear about that.
a hair dresser friend once told me KLB6 , the diet aid , which contains kelp extract has a positive side effect of hair growth as reported by models who use it to stay slim.(beats eating tissue paper i guess)
may be worth a try if all else has failed??? you are in my thoughts.
izzy

molsid
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Well I thought I was the only one, I finished Chemo in August last year and do not have hair that could be worn without a wig, I am still shaving it to a number one because the "gollum" look is just not good.

My oncologist just said she has never come across anyone who did not get their hair back!!. I am starting to get eyelashes and had eyebrows tatooed so overall not to bad, I have noticed a couple of eyebrow hairs starting to come through.

Also when I run my hand over my hair I can feel spikes of new hair growth so I think it will come back eventually.

I tell myself that that chemo was really good stuff and if it has done this to my hair then cancer is blasted forever.

(on and if it helps I am 42 and on tamoxifen)

be positive

veggiemut
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi sorry foks but my hair has grown 3/4" and I finished chemo 3 months ago.
When I was a kid my mum read in a magazine about a tea that helps your hair grow but you don't drink it, you use it as a last wrinse! It's Rosemary and Thyme boilng water in a teapot Brew it then cool of course and use. It seems to help.
Happy hair growing all ! xxx

GIJaneH
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

I'm only 6 weeks post chemo, but there's no sign of anything and you have articulated/experienced my fear..... So sorry.... I get fed up with not just wearing a wig, but the lack of temperature-control.. you must be heartily sick of it. Going to see someone else is a good idea (not heard the word "tricologist" before, so you live and learn!) Jane

moorcow
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hey tigerlilly - really sorry to hear about your hair cos its a part of our identity isn't it - but I did get used to wearing hats when I was having chemo - got some lovely ones from suburban turban if you fancy googling them. I wonder if that hairdresser guy would have any advice , the specialist one who does lots for women post chemo - Think his name is trevor sorbie. And the tricologist seems like a good idea.
best wishes Nicola

topsymo
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hello Tigs: you are not alone - though I'm sorry my comments will not be very encouraging to you.

My hair has still not returned to anything like it was before chemotherapy and I am now 3 years post-chemotherapy. I only stopped wearing a wig in June (I've had 4 or 5 altogether). I had become reconciled to having to wear it permanently but then noticed some slight improvement in my hair this Spring and decided to be brave.
After such a long period I was agreeably surprised to see some change - maybe my hair WILL come back as remember by the time I die!
I have it cut very 10 weeks or so to keep some shape and the back and sides are now not too bad. The front and crown remain very sparse -but 'everyone ' says it looks OK now- even though I don't think so.
Like you I didn't get much help from my onc or BC nurse - the onc said it was a combination of my age(now 68) plus Arimidex plus bad luck. I guess they don't bother to warn patients of this as a possible side effect of chemo as it is quite unusual- but horrible!
I really do sympathise with you- and would recommend you use a good quality shampoo and conditioner but DON"T waste your money on any of the so-called baldness 'cures' . I've tried several; they aren't cheap - and certainly didn't work for me.

jaynek
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi there

I agree that this must be quite distressing for you. After all we have been through the hair growth is quite a big thing. I am 6 months after finishing all chemo though still on Herceptin. I just wondered if you are on Herceptin as I know that this can have an impact on hair growth. My hair, to be fair, is growing, though not quite as I expected. it is more out the way than length wise. I would certainly ask if you could be seen by someone for further advice around your hair as the previous person suggested. Good luck, I do hope the growth picks up for you very soon. Take care. J.

emmbee
Member

Re: Hair growth post treatment

Hi Tigs,

I am really bumping this up in case anyone with your problem comes on board.

You are right, one year on you should have some hair and the lack of it must be driving you mad. Have you thought of seeing a tricologist? maybe your GP could refer you. It may be that a hair specialist could help.

My hair has come back but it is grey and straight and I hate it. People keep saying how nice my gamine cut is and yea, it would look good on someone with the right shape of face. I am seriously thinking of going back to wearing wigs just so that I can look at myself and not say yuk.

Hope you get some help.

E

Tigerlilly
Member

Hair growth post treatment

Tigerlilly Tigerlilly says on 03 Sep 2011 12:32

Hi all,
I feel like the only one who's hair is still not back one year after treatment ended.......I finished my chemo in August 2010 and although I have some hair it is so sparse from a distance I still look bald. After all this time I can't see that I will ever be able to go wigless again.......the BCN and oncologist have been no help, all they say is oh it will come back but after a year????? I don't think so!! I see people who have been diagnosed a monthes after me and they all have a head of hair!!
So although I am obviously in the minority and I don't want to scare or upset anyone.....but it is not always true that "it'll grow back again"
Any help or suggestions or anyone else out there the same???
Tigs