Stages of Hair Loss

Both men and women find losing their hair the toughest part of treatment. This can be because for many, hair loss is a symbol to the world that you have cancer. Most people are not ready to share this information with others but preparing and knowing what to expect can help you cope.

Start by speaking to your cancer care team. They will explain how your particular treatment will effect your hair. It is important to remember that everyones treatment is different, and you may not have the same experience. Some people lose all the hair, while others my only lose a part of it.

My Hair loss experience

During my treatment I was not prepared for hair loss. I had no idea what to expect, which made my anxiety worse. My hair was super long! After a week or so from my first chemo session my hair slowly started to fall out. Waking up with a pile of hair on my pillow was a shock!

When my hair started to get really thin, I was too scared to go completely bald at this point or go to the hairdressers! Not sure what to do, my mum rang a hairdresser to come to the house to cut my hair short. This made my hair look thicker and fuller and much easier to manage.

This lasted for about a week or so, and then the worse part came. Waking up with bald patches. This terrified me, as each time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, my changed appearance reminded me of my illness and everything I have experienced since my diagnosis.

When the day came to shave it all off, I was feeling very low, but afterwards it was actually a relief not seeing clumps of hair falling out. I got my fiancé to shave my head, as I felt more comfortable doing this with someone I love and in my own home. Definitely best to do it this way if you are really nervous instead of going to the hairdressers. 

Check out the stages of hair loss to help prepare yourself:

1st Stage:
Hair slowly falling out
  • Hair usually begins falling out two to four weeks after you start treatment.
  • You're head my become tender. 
  • Hair may fall out quickly in clumps or gradually.
  • Depending on your treatment, you're hair my became 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 try that hairstyle you always wanted! 
  • Experiment and have fun! 
3rd Stage: 
Short Style 
  • Shorter hair doesn't lie flat against your head, so it can make your hair look thicker and fuller. 
  • Easier to mange when hair begins to fall out and easier to mange under wigs. 
4th Stage: 
Wig Buying 
  • If you are thinking about getting a wig, it is best 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 chose 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'