Hello, Janeypie. I think you would be surprised how quickly hair starts to 'take off' once it gets back into the growth cycle. I kept about 50% of my hair with the Paxman scalp cooler, which gave me a helping hand in re-growing a jaw length bob.
The hair I kept was already at jaw length, and my hairdresser was brilliant in styling it so that the new growth blended in, with the view to it catching up to the same length. She regularly trimmed the ends of the new hair ever so carefully, to encourage it to thicken up from its baby-like status in the early weeks and months.
I used to cover my balding/patchy bits with bandanas or thick alice bands when I went out, but my hairdresser told me it was vital to expose my scalp to as much air as possible, to encourage re growth [so that probably gives you an answer regarding continuing wearing the wig] I also ate a three egg scrambled egg twice a week, as eggs are a brilliant hair food, apparantly.
Two years post chemo, I now have a thick bob which is all the same length, about an inch below the jaw line. My fringe is quite passable, but has not really returned to the same thickness as before my treatment, but I am more than happy with what I now have. When you have been through chemo, you never complain about a 'bad hair day' ever again!!
I am 6 months post chemo and also still using FAST shampoo and conditioner. I suspect that hair doesn't suddenly start sprouting as you finish treatment. I wonder if perhaps the hair regrowth kicks in a few weeks later once your system hasn't received another treatment? I haven't had this confirmed by anyone it's just my thoughts. Anyway I finished using my wig about 3 months after last chemo, basically because I had felt the cold too much to leave it off and it suited me to wear it during 4 weeks of travelling to and from radiotherapy (completed mid Feb 2014).
My hair is very tight curls all over but thickish and strong and I always had curly hair. Obviously because of the curls my hair doesn't seem too long but it's now a full covering, except the top is growing more slowly. I wonder if this is because of the possibility of male pattern baldness due to the hormone suppressant - in my case Anastrazole. I think the back and sides is around 3-4 cm and the top around 2-3 cm.
I hope your hair recovers quickly and you are pleased with the result but it does seem ages and if you think about it we haven't grown hair from scratch since we were babies and it didn't bother us too much then! It's like watching a kettle boil!
I think taking care of your diet and your hair regrowth is key. I also try to pay more attention to my skin and make up in the hope that the focus is away from my hair.
ps Meant to say that I met a lady at hospital last week who completed treatment at the same time as me. Her hair came back white and tight curls too (although I guess she's 15 yrs younger than me) and she took the decision to shave her head again and her hair started growing in its original form ie straight. I don't feel strong enough to try this.
It's obvious everyone's very different, but just looking some hope & inspiration! I'm 3 1/2 months post chemo & have reached the dizzy heights of about 1/2cm of hair! It's finally looking like hair now rather than just bumfluff! I'm using oil & FAST shampoo, but how long away do you think a bob is? & how long do you think it's possible to tolerate a wig when your hair does finally start to grow?
Hi, I have been a little luckier with hair re-growth. Had Tax and then FEC and used the cold cap throughout. Lost probably 3/4 of my hair but never all of it. I bought an extra wig to go with the one supplied by the NHS and they were great.
Synthetic but very convincing - people never knew it was not my hair.
Finished treatment in October 2013. Wigs off on 1 January 2014 and I used a water based colour by Daniel Field several times, with no ill effects at all. Hair curly but had only been very straight before.
In the middle of May had a salon colour and highlights with Wella products - absolutely fine. Hair is now pretty much back to normal now. Had really thick hair before and its probably 90% of that thickness, no thinness, no bald patches. Texture has improved a lot in the last month - now not baby fine hair but feels normal texture and the curliness is reducing.
Eyebrows are another story - still very sparse - might have the semi-permanents done if they don't improve by the end of this year. I did have some of my hair dye on them and that helped a bit.
Lost my toe and fingernails after the Taxotere - evil stuff!
Still suffering from peripheral neuropathy, mainly in feet. My head was very sensitive to the hairdrier at the hairdressers, nerve damage there too I think. Hands pretty much recovered. Have had to buy good quality footwear - sandals by sketchers - wonderfully comfortable. Hotters trainers also very good.
Now its the side-effects of Letrozole to contend with. Very painful hands in the mornings, like arthritis, passes off with lots of stretching exercises. Hot flushes back again!!!! Vaginal dryness and can't take any of the Oestrogen products, as my breast cancer was Oestrogen positive. Using Replens with good results.
Well that's where I am so far - would be interested if others have the same symptoms and how long they take to go away.
Hi don't know where you live in manchester but there is a hairdresser wig fitter on Scool lane in East didsbury.
She used to be at the Christie Hospital and was excelent She did the wig fitting and advice there.
I went back to see the dermatologist yesterday. She now saying it might not be alopecia areata it could be an iron deficiency. I have finally decided I'm going to get a wig. As it could be a long term thing I want to get a real hair wig. The problem I have now it's where do I go to get one. I live in the north of England and there is only 1 shop in the local area. Can anyone recommend a reputable wig fitters/ hairdressers where I can go.
I finished 6 FEC in March 2013 - used the coldcap throughout, and although hair thinned I always had a good covering and no one who didn't know me would have realised I was having treatment.
You say that you stopped using the cc because your hair came out. If I were in your position and going on to Tax after FEC I would definitely start using the cc again to protect your hair folicles as Tax is known to sometimes cause permanent hair loss. You could wear a surgeon's paper hat or some thin gauze on your head to protect your skin from the cold. I know people who did this whilst I was having treatment. Personally I'd go through any discomfort to prevent my hair loss even having a remote chance of becoming permanent. Good luck with your treatment.
While you are waiting for replies maybe you could give our free helpline a ring on 0808 800 6000 and have a confidential chat with one of the breast care nurses who are there to support you, lines are open to Monday to Friday 9.00 – 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 – 2.00.
Inkyblue is so correct about Tax really hammering the hair follicles.
I finished chemo two years ago, and used the Paxman cap throughout. My first three chemos were with FEC, during which my hair loss was minimal. My greatest hair loss came during chemos 4 to 6, with Tax. I ended up with a hair soup in the bath, during my weekly hair washes, and also had to do a hoover up of hair at the end of each day. The impact of hair loss when I changed from FEC to Tax was astonishing, and very distressing.
Having said that, I kept around 50% of my hair, and remain forever grateful to the Paxman invention. Two years post chemo, my hair is almost back to its former thickness, but it has been a long, patient road to tread to get my hair back to its original texture etc. My fringe remains quite sparse, but passable. I remain hopeful that it will get back to its previous thickness in due course.
So hang on in there, ladies! Hair regrowth will eventually return to normal, but it could take a long while.
inkyblue makes a good point - if I had known that I would be taking Tamoxifen after chemo which can cause hair thinning I would have perserved with the cold cap. I wish I would have been told of the possibility:(
As I have said in my earlier replies I used Olive oil and Jojoba oil. I now have a good head of hair. It is also curly to my delight, I have always had straight hair so am pleased with what I have now. Just persevere and you will get there
libsue, your post is very encouraging - I finished chemo at the end of last October and have only recently started to get any proper regrowth, but it's a bit patchy - I look like I'm going bald in some places and was starting to get a bit worried about this. Prior to chemo I had good thick hair. I don't really want to wear a wig but was worried the hair on the baldish bits might not grow back properly. I don't really want to wait 2 years either, but at least there is some hope:)
Forgot to mention - I tried all the commercial products such as FAST and another product whose name I can't remember [ tax stole my memory!], but if you want details I can look in my en suite bathroom, not now as hubby in bed. They had no positive effect for me, so a complete waste of money, however I notice from reading through the the tread that some ladies did see a noticible benefit; just goeas to show that what's true for one isn't necessarily true for all!
I, a couple of months back, started to massage my scalp with Argan Oil and this is when I noticed a difference. Was this coincidental? I'm not sure! But, as Argan Oil is not ecpensive [bought mine in Aldi] it has to be worth a try.
Firsty I find these upside down threads impossible to follow! So much easier when I was active here a couple of years ago and threads woked from top to bottom, they now confuse me! That said I will try to respond to the origanal poster and anyone else with the same worry.
I finished chemo [tax] in February 2012, I have been wearing a wig since as my grew back thin and fine. Pre treament my hair was fine, but I had plenty of it,
I went through periods of being down in the dumps, to not caring, depending on the day! At least my wig gave me liberation, I no longer had to style my hair and no matter what weather I needn't care! However, I did want 'my hair back', as I wanted normality back in my life!
Now, 2yrs after my last my chemo, my hair is it at last thickening up and I no longer see bald patches. It's still not as full as pre chemo but is definetely getting there.
My oncologist was right in saying: tax can take years to leave your body and the effects of it can be felt for a long time.
I had reached the conclusion that I'd be wearing a wig for ever; but recent growth has given me hope, and I have a hairdresser's appointment to have my 'grey's covered. I'll let you know the outcome.
My message is: it's taken 2yrs for my hair to look anything like reasonable, and like you, I had given up hope, thought I'd have to wear a wig forever, but not the case as now my hair is definetely thicker and in a state were it can be styled and coloured..
So, hold on girls, give it time, and you too will hopefully be where I am 2yrs post chemo
Thanks for the update and that sounds really very interesting. My eyebrows are growing but they're at peculiar angles and one side is growing thicker than the other. This sounds a very interesting procedue and I'll definitely look into it.
Best of luck to you
I had my semi-permanent eyebrows applied a few months ago. I was told they should last about 18 - 24 months. They were done at a beauty salon (Studio 19, Cheltenham). I went to an initial (free) consultation which lasted about an hour and was a good opportunity to ask questions and see some 'before' and 'after' photos of previous clients. I liked that there was no pressure to go ahead and she had a lovely understanding manner as regards what I'd been through with chemo and hair loss. I decided to go ahead so returned a couple of weeks later for the actual procedure. She applied some numbing cream so I hardly felt the actual 'tatooing' of individual hair-strokes which lasted about and hour and a half. I went back about 6 weeks later for her to tidy up the overall effect. The final cost was £375 which included the two applications. So, not cheap, but, to me, my new eyebrows are priceless.
As I said, I've been delighted with the result. I only told my husband and my best friend that I was having it done and no-one else has realised because they look so natural.
Felt quite empowering to have it done. Breast cancer has robbed me of many things but my eyebrows look better than ever!
Hi - just a quick addtion to this thread re: eyebrows.
Docetaxol robbed me of my eyebrows 4 years ago and they never really grew back properly. TBH they were never very thick before chemo and I probably over-plucked them in my twenties.
So I took the plunge and had semi-permanent eyebrows 'tatooed' last year. Delighted with the results. If anyone wants more info on how this was and where I had it done do let me know.
The FAST shampoo and conditioner is very nice to use but I'm unsure if it speeds up the hair growth. You don't need much of it so spending £25 seems like a well deserved treat and the conditioner seems to help the dry itchyness. I have very sensitive skin anyway and find Forever Living Aloe Vera Propolis cream slowly but surely removes the isolated patches.My hair is white fuzzy with threads of black and the top is not growing as quickly as back and sides
Everywhere else the hair growth is romping away - especially my chin OH NOOOOOOO
It has been 2 years this month since I had my last chemo. My hair is not growing back. There is more on the sides than the top but you can still see my scalp and it is still fuzzy. I went to see a dermatologist last year. He said it was alopicia areata due to stress of having cancer and said it has a 60-80% chance of it growing back. I have been to see a different doc in January for a second opinion. The treatment he has given me is not working. He said he will try something else if it doesn't work. I am not on any medication. I wear head scarves I don't want to wear a wig I feel if I do I am resigning to the fact its not going to grow back
I read on the site to use Olive oil from chemist and have done this also alternate it with Jojohoba oil and my hair is growing now. It is lsow but it is at last getting thicker. Good luck
I am 4 weeks post chemo, my hair started to grow back (fair and fluffy) when I finished the fec and started tax. The problem I have is that my head is very dry and itchy and I am getting scabs and spots all over my scalp. I have tried the naked shampoo or itchy scalps and also moisturisers.
Has anyone else had this and if so how did you ease it please
Itchy scratchy Debs
You don't need to shave it. It starts off fine and fuzzy and then gradually thickens up.
I took pictures of my regrowth on my blog: http://iameclectica.blogspot.co.uk/p/chemo-hair-regrowth_16.html
I had white fuzz at 8 weeks and a buzzcut by 3 months.
Hi there Debbiezeb....
I finished Chemo end Feb 2013. Was able to ditch wig August 2013. Hair has grown back white and like curly wire / texture of a brillo pad. I initially coloured it with vegetable colour (available on internet) and straightened it to a short spiky style. July i had it levellled up (it was about 3/4" long) and coloured by my hairdresser. I have had my hair cut twice so far to get rid of the original chemically burnt 1" or so of my hair and to improve the texture.
I am using FAST (Fortified Amino Scalp Treatment) and am getting about 1/2" per month on length and a much better texture. It is as thick as it was before treatment (a bit like a thatched roof on top of my head).
FAST i bought from a large high streeet chemist approx £25 for set shampoo & condifioner.
Anything is worth a try to get us girls looking the best we can.
Take Care Gilly x
Hiya Debbiezeb. I hated losing my hair as it has always been my best feature. However six on from finishing chemo it is growing back although it is grey. It was very slow at first. I read some comments on this site and someone said olive oil (the type you get at the chemist) so I got some and massage some in most days. It seems to have started to grow quicker since doing this so can reccomned it. Good luck with your hair growth.
I have finished my chemotherapy about 5 weeks ago now and have started having radiotherapy every day for 5 weeks and herseptin every 3 weeks. My hair has started to grow back but it very thin and soft like baby hair. A friend who has been through treatment a few years ago has suggested that I shave this first lot of hair off and that my hair would then grow back thicker and in better condition?? I just thought I would seek some further advise from people in a similar situation to me before I take the drastic step of shaving off the new hair that is just started growing back?
Is it by any chance possible that the 2 ladies with poor/no hairgrowth had taxotere?? I am 3 years on with very little hair and this I know was caused by Taxotere. No one ever mentioned the possibility of permanent hairloss and if they didn't know they should of .
Nothing can be done now but I really think we should be given facts before treatment, I would of used a cold cap to minimize this possibility.
Hi there Jaydun.
Sorry i have only just noticed this, i have also posted on a Nerve Damage thread.
I only finished Chemo Feb 2013 and am taking Tamoxifen but as you say legs look like a garden full of weeds but other hair a bit erratic. Currently thinking what i am gonna do about facial hair other than a job as 'The Bearded Lady'.
My hair was auburn, very thick and long before Chemo. It has returned white and with the texture of a Brillo Pad. When i went to a 'Look Good Feel Better' day earlier this year lots of the ladies were using FAST(Fortified Amino Scalp Treatment). Not sure if you have tried this but girls were reporting it made their hair thicker and better condition. I am using it to get some length (in the hope the texture will improve) and my hair is growing about 1cm per month with this and the texture is improving.
I guess as with any of the things this process leaves behind anything is worth a try. There are more details on internet if you Google and i bought mine at a large high street Chemist. It was £25 for shampoo and conditioner so i lock it away just in case.....
Take Care. Gilly x
I'm sorry you haven't had any replies to your post yet. I hope someone will notice it now and come along to offer some support.
Very best wishes
I anyone else having hair regrowth problems? Over 2 and half years after finishing chemo my hair still resembles that of a new born baby, very thin and fine and hardly covering my scalp. It did start growing back a little, but then I started Arimidex and now it has just stopped growing almost entirely. Still have no hair in armpits but some on my legs( wouldn't you just know it!) Still wearing a wig, but it doesn't bother me too much.