Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will my hair fall out after breast cancer surgery?"
I am a 28 year old and am worried about my hair falling out after breast cancer surgery. I am told it never grows back the same if your hair falls out. What can I do?
The loss of hair is a potential side effect of chemotherapy, which is a type of medical treatment used to fight various types of cancer. The chemotherapy is designed to fight cancerous cells, but because it is often not completely specific for the cancer, there are often adverse side effects because healthy cells are damaged as well (such as the cells that grow hair). Most patients that do end up losing their hair experience this on a temporary basis only. The hair that grows back may be slightly different from your hair before the treatment (either a different shade or texture) but usually these changes are temporary as well. Only a portion of women with breast cancer end up requiring systemic chemotherapy. The kind of treatment that women receive after breast cancer surgery depends on the extent of the cancer and the molecular make-up of the cancer (i.e., whether it has certain types of hormone receptors or not). You should talk to your doctors about the type of cancer you have and whether or not you will require chemotherapy following your surgery for breast cancer.
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