I often joke with my friends that “any day with hair is a good day.”
When you have breast cancer, you have a lot to think about and a lot to do. Over the years I have found that many women end up focusing on hair loss, and they will direct a lot of their fear and anguish into this issue. Never mind that they have a serious disease, or that they’re going to have to possibly go for surgery, chemo, radiation or other treatment.
It is often all about losing their hair.
This plays out in many oncology offices and support groups around the world, when this is one of the first concerns that many women will ask about when initially diagnosed.
“Will I lose my hair?”
This is a question for your doctor. You should also ask the follow up question about if your hair will grow back. In my personal experience, so far it always has, but there is always the chance that sometime it might not. Or, it might grow back quite differently than your original hair (curlier, straighter, thinner, grayer, etc.). Sometimes, when it grows back differently, it eventually changes yet again, and may look more like your original hair. This could take some time, and it doesn’t always happen. In fact, the last time I lost my hair and it grew back, it actually looked better after coming in than it had before I’d had any treatment.
At the end of the day, either your hair will grow back or it won’t. (And, usually, it does.) We don’t have a crystal ball to predict, but it is not the end of the world, and many, many women with alopecia wear wigs. According to one estimate, 20 million women have female pattern hair loss (for various reasons including chemotherapy, but not exclusively due to chemotherapy).*
You are not alone.
There are several ways to handle the hair loss problem, and you’ll have to decide what is right for you. The typical options that most women choose from is to wear a scarf or hat to cover up the problem, get a wig, or go proudly bald.
I’ve tried the scarf/hat option and the wig option. I was never bold enough to walk around bald – just not for me.
In any case, the next time I lose my hair (assuming I might), I’m going with a good well-made wig. After all, any day with hair is a good day.
*Papadakis, M and McPhee,S. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, 2015, McGraw-Hill, 2015.