Alopecia: How to Deal with Hair Loss

While common and often temporary, hair loss is still a devastating experience for many cancer patients.

Certain treatments — including hormonal therapies, immunotherapy or radiation therapy — typically don’t cause hair loss. But certain chemotherapies often lead to total loss of hair on the scalp, as well as eyebrows, eyelashes, body and pubic hair.

New scalp cooling systems, which can decrease the amount of chemotherapy delivered to hair follicles, can help prevent total scalp hair loss.

This treatment can be expensive and might not be covered by insurance, so it’s best to discuss the benefits with your medical oncologist before starting chemotherapy.

Hair re-growth can start anywhere from six weeks to three months following chemotherapy. Your hair may look the same as it did before treatment, or it might grow back a different color or texture.

Over-the-counter supplements to speed up hair growth

  • Biotin: Take 2.5 mg tablet by mouth once a day to strengthen hair and nails.
  • Minoxidil (or Rogaine): Use 1 to 2 times per day to increase new hair growth on the scalp.