Anti-Cancer Drug Effects on Your Hair
Since cancer is a condition of uncontrolled cell growth, anticancer drug administration (such as chemotherapy) aims at reducing, or stopping, this abnormal growth. Anti-cancer drugs act on both normal cells and cancerous cells.
Various drugs are used in chemotherapy treatment. The amount of hair loss depends upon the type and dosage prescribed. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Best of all, in all but rare instances, hair loss is temporary!
All cells are more receptive to the action of drugs during active cell reproduction. Cells which reproduce most rapidly are those most likely to be destroyed. Some normal cells – such as hair follicles- also divide rapidly, which is why they are also affected by chemotherapy.
At any one time, about 85% of the hair follicles are reproducing.
Radiation Therapy's Effects
Radiation therapy is the use of high energy rays to stop cancer cells from growing within its reach- cancerous and normal- to grow and reproduce. However, cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than normal cells. If radiation is given just as the cancer cell is about to reproduce- to divide into two cells- the radiation will prevent the cell from dividing and it will die. Radiation is a strong treatment for cancer and can sometimes affect normal tissue, causing side effects. With radiation treatment to the head and neck area, one possible side effect may be hair loss.
This is when the hair gets longer. For this reason chemotherapy drugs whose chief purpose is to attack and destroy the rapidly reproducing cancer cells may have the same effect on your active hair cells.
When chemotherapy is completed, you can expect that the hair follicles will resume their task of processing amino acids from your blood and building new hair again.