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Cancer Tips & Tricks

I have been asked so many times about hair loss and chemotherapy. If your doctor has told you that you will lose your hair, you probably will. I have tried to think of the questions that I needed answered when I started my chemotherapy. I know that this is not easy; however, knowledge is power and gives you the ability to make sound decisions for your life. I know that everyone is an individual and you might react a little differently to the chemotherapy, but over the years I have found the answers below are pretty good guidelines. 

 

1.If your oncologist or chemotherapy nurse has told you that your hair will fall out, it probably will. The GOOD NEWS is that your hair will grow back after your treatment. You can expect about ½ inch of hair growth per month, AND, you now have time to plan for that hair loss.  How will I know when my hair is ready to fall out? Everyone is an individual; but there are signs to look for. Usually, if you are in a three week cycle for chemo, about the 10th to the 14th day your head will turn pink like a slight sunburn. Your head might tingle or you even might have a headache. If you haven’t lost your hair by your second chemo cycle, I have found that 7 to 10 days after your second cycle, you will. 

2. Everyone is an individual; but there are signs to look for when your hair is about to fall out. Usually, if you are in a three week cycle for chemo, about the 10th to the 14th day your head will turn pink like a slight sunburn. Your head might tingle or you even might have a headache. If you haven't lost your hair by your second chemo cycle, I have found that 7 to 10 days after your second cycle, you will. 

3. Usually, by the 5th or 6th chemo cycle, your eyelashes and eyebrows will start to thin, but... GREAT NEWS! They come back in two weeks give or take a few days. 

4. Small lemon drops will activate the saliva glands to alleviate a dry mouth 

5. Consider getting a shorter haircut. Shorter hair is easier to manage under a wig. A shorter style will make you hair look thicker and fuller. It may also make you hair loss less traumatic. 

6. Some people choose to shave their head once the hair starts falling out. But, you are in charge of taking that step. There is no right or wrong time to shave your head. You will know when the time is right. 

7. Use mild shampoos/conditioner and soft hairbrushes 

8. Keep some peppermint tea on hand. A hot cup of peppermint tea will settle the stomach and soothe the nerves in a matter of minutes 

9. When your scalp becomes itchy and/or sore this recipe: Mix baking soda and lukewarm water into a paste about the thickness of brownie mix. You want the mixture thick enough that it will not run down into your eyes when you apply it to your head. Spread the mixture on your head (with or without hair) and leave on your head approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. You may apply this to your head several times a day. It feels especially good to your head right before going to bed. Hang in there!!! Your head will stop itching and/or being sore a day or two after your hair is gone. 

10. You may use a color rinse on your hair like "Roux". Do not use permanent dye on your hair or get a permanent. No chemicals at all. 

11. Use hair dryer on low heat when drying hair and do not use brush rollers. 

12. Avoid sleeping in hair rollers because this pulls the hair. 

13. Wear a hairnet, soft cap or turban around your head at night to collect any loose hairs. 

14. Use a satin, polyester or cotton pillowcase, rather than a nylon pillowcase, which can cause irritation. 

15. Be aware that during the period of time you lose hair, the scalp may be tender or sensitive. Some people report having a tingling feeling of the scalp during hair loss. 

GOOD NEWS! Your head will not hurt at all after your hair is gone. Your head is only sensitive right before and during your hair loss. Always remember...Get Up, Suit Up, and Show Up!!