Stages of Hair Loss

Losing hair is the most challenging part of treatment for both men and women. Hair loss can be interpreted as a sign of cancer for many. The majority of people are not ready to share this information with others, but preparing and knowing what to expect can make it easier to deal with the situation.

The first step is to speak with your cancer care team

It will be explained to you how your particular treatment will affect your hair. Keep in mind that everyone's treatment is unique, and your experience may differ from others. Depending on the individual, some people may lose all their hair while others may lose only a portion.

My Hair loss experience

During my treatment, I was unprepared for hair loss. As a result, I was nervous. Within a week of my first chemotherapy treatment, my hair began to fall out. Being woken up with a pile of hair on my pillow was a shocking experience. In the aftermath of my hair thinning, I was afraid of going completely bald or having to visit the hairdresser. Not knowing what to do, my mum called a hairdresser to come to my house and cut my hair short. As a result, my hair appeared thicker and fuller as a consequence of being easier to manage.

It was unfortunate that the most difficult part came about a week later. I awoke with patches of baldness. Every time I glanced in the mirror, I was reminded of my illness and everything I had experienced in the past. Eventually, the day arrived for me to shave it off, and though I felt extremely low, I was relieved that I was not seeing clumps of hair fall out. Because I felt more comfortable shaving my head in the comfort of my own home with someone I love, I shaved it with my fiancé. This method is certainly more convenient if you are extremely nervous instead of going to a hairdresser. 

To prepare yourself for hair loss, review the following stages:

1st Stage: Hair slowly falls out

  • Hair usually begins falling out two to four weeks after you start treatment.
  • Your head may become tender. 
  • Hair may fall out quickly in clumps or gradually.
  • Depending on your treatment, your hair may become thin or completely bald.
2nd Stage: 
Have Fun! 
  • If you know you are going to lose all your hair, why not try dying it crazy colours or trying that hairstyle you always wanted? 
  • Experiment and have fun! 
3rd Stage: 
Short Style 
  • Short hair doesn't lie flat against your head, so it can make your hair look thicker and fuller. 
  • Easier to manage when hair begins to fall out and easier to manage under wigs. 
4th Stage: 
Wig Buying 
  • If you are thinking about getting a wig, it is wise to get one before you lose all your hair. This will make it easier to be able to match the wig with your real hair. 

5th Stage: 
The Shave 
  • This is the hardest stage, but it may help, as watching your hair can become more distressing.
  • If you choose to shave, use an electric shaver or go to a barbershop. This will reduce the risk of cutting yourself and developing an infection. 


For help with life after hair loss read - 'Coping with After Hair Loss' 

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