Coping with Hair Loss after Chemotherapy: What is the impact of diabetes?

In our second posting of breast cancer awareness week, we'll examine a study from China examined whether quality of life was altered in women with breast cancer who had diabetes compared to women with breast cancer who did not have diabetes.

Breast cancer patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were found to have a lower quality of life compared to breast cancer patients without diabetes. 
Interestingly, the effect of diabetes on quality of life was independent of tumor size, regional lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis and tumor stage index (TNM). Diabetes had a profound effect on coping and emotional reactions to a range of physical alterations. Breast cancer patients with diabetes had lower scores on surveys to assess emotional and social functioning, body image, future perspective, as well as economic problems. Type 2 diabetic patients were more severely affected than type 1 diabetics.

Important to the area of hair loss, breast cancer patients with diabetes were more upset by hair loss compared to breast cancer patients without diabetes. 

Diabetes appears to have an independent impact on a wide array of psychosocial variables. Breast cancer patients with diabetes are more negatively affected by their hair loss and supportive measures are needed to help patients cope.


Associations between Diabetes and Quality of Life among Breast Cancer Survivors. Tang Z, et al. PLoS One. 2

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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