A week long look at hair loss issues in those with breast cancer

We will devoted this coming week to a variety of hair loss experiences in patients with breast cancer. This runs in parallel with the Breast Cancer Awareness month of October.

Through six studies are reminded of several themes. I would like to summarize a few here:

1. Hair loss occurs in many patients receiving chemotherapy. 

2. Cold caps are safe and may help at least some to prevent hair loss. Several cold caps are used world wide. Dignicap became FDA approved in the USA in 2015.

3. Minoxidil does not prevent hair loss after chemotherapy but can shorten the number of months a patient is bald

4. Hair loss has a profound psychological impact. Certain patients especially those with diabetes may have more challenges with coping. Other studies have shown that young patients and those in lower socioeconomic groups may have specific coping challenges as well.

5. Some cancer drugs like the taxanes, cyclophosphamide, can cause permanent hair loss in some patients. We call this PCIA - permanent chemotherapy induced alopecia.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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