I am African American, and was diagnosed with cancer a year ago (Hodgkin’s). I was told that Chemo would definitely leave me bald. I was one of the lucky ones that did not go completly bald, but my hair sheded a lot leaving it fragile and very very thin. Now that I am cancer free (praise God), I would like to know if there is anything I can do to grow my hair back. I also have anemia, something I’ve had all my life (not cancer related). I have not had Any chemicals on my hair in about seventeen months. Can I use perms again?
Thank you for your response in advance, for this is a very touchy and hard to speak on subject with the oncologist, I think they feel my concerns are vain.
Unfortunately, some doctors are still in the middle ages when it comes to hair loss, but your oncologist should not be in that situation. Curing cancer is very important and getting back to normal is just as important. Chemotherapy may cause hair loss and sometimes it takes a couple of years for the hair to return to normal. You should be extra-gentle with the hair while you are waiting it out and not use chemicals that might damage the hair while it is fragile. Hair thickeners do not cause much of a problem. If your African hair allows the use of thickeners, you can increase the fullness of each hair shaft with their use. Your hair situation may be still the result of other elements that followed your treatment. Anemia is known to contribute to hair loss as is thyroid problems so a good evaluation of these other systems are important. Hormone assessment is also important, particularly if you are female. If you are a male, Propecia may have value.
Take the time to get you doctor to sit down with you and review every factor that may contribute to hair loss in your case, based upon his/her experience. I am sure that he/she sees this problem often so do not be shy or embarrassed about talking about it.