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Cancer. The word alone creates fear and confusion.

Cancer patients face not only the uncertainty of their disease, but also the anxiety of treatment—particularly hair loss. This article provides facts about the relationship between chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hair loss. Its aim is to provide you with the information you need, using non-medical language, to understand what is happening to your hair, and why.

Hair Growth

Hair grows from the root, from the hair follicle, where a constant process of cell division occurs. Amino acids taken from blood feeding the follicle join with dividing cells, resulting in cell chains. Eventually these cell chains link up with one another, resulting in a long fiber. At this point, the nucleus of the original cell is dead, and the amino acids have formed into a hard keratin.

Keratin is a protein, and it is the substance our hair and nails are made from. It is a lifeless substance that results from the “pushing” of newly forming cells in the follicle. As the keratin protein is pushed out, our hair grows from the root. The growth of our hair follows a cyclical pattern that is one of the body’s most active “growing” processes: building shafts of hair for a period of time, and then resting.
Anti-cancer Drugs

Cancer is a condition of uncontrolled cell growth. Anti-cancer drug administration aims to reduce or stop this process. However, anti-cancer drugs act on both normal and cancerous cells, and are most likely to destroy cells that reproduce quickly. Follicles divide rapidly, which is why they are affected by chemotherapy. At any one time, about 85% of follicles are reproducing.

Because a variety of drugs are used for chemotherapy treatment, hair loss depends upon the type prescribed and the dosage. Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss and, except in rare instances, the loss is temporary. When treatment is completed, the hair follicles will resume processing amino acids from your blood and creating new hair for you.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy employs high-energy rays to inhibit the growth and division of cancer cells. It destroys all cells’ ability to grow and multiply in the area of application; however, cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than normal cells. If treatment is applied as a cancer cell is about to reproduce it will prevent the cell from doing so, and the cell will die. Still, radiation therapy can sometimes affect normal tissue, causing side effects. One possible result of treatments to the head and neck is hair loss. Some or all of your hair in the area being treated may be lost. But, in most cases, hair growth will resume at the end of the treatment cycle.

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Alternatives: Human Hair Wigs

There are several options for dealing with hair loss once it occurs. You may choose to cover your head with a hat, scarf or turban. Or, you may choose to replace your hair either with a medical human hair wig or a prosthetic.

If you choose to replace your hair, you’ll be happy to know that fake-looking wigs are a thing of the past. New technologies have made both human hair wigs and synthetic wigs appear highly realistic because they can be fitted to the shape of your head. European Human hair wigs are typically more expensive and require more maintenance. Synthetic wigs are less expensive (although some special models are more expensive), and are easier to style and wash. Synthetic wigs also dry more quickly, and require less care.

Insurance Coverage for a Medical Wig

A human hair wig or hair prosthesis is often considered a tax-deductible medical expense. Contact your accountant or insurance agent to inquire if your system can be deducted.



Seeing is Believing!

We invite you to schedule your free, confidential hair loss restoration consultation today. Your private consultation will be conducted in a professional, no-pressure atmosphere, and without obligation of any kind. We are here to help you.

During this consultation, we can determine if you are a candidate for hair transplantation or if you will benefit from a hair loss prevention treatment program. We will discuss your specific goals for your appearance, review your hair loss classification, and explain the various levels that can be achieved with our hair transplantation procedures.

JUST CLICK HERE to schedule your free, confidential hair loss evaluation and consultation today. Or call us at (800) 222-9806. After all, seeing really is believing.

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Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine.

Here is the digital link for the spring issue of the Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine. CLICK HERE



Jernigans Hair Replacement Clinic

5520 McNeely Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612

Telephone  (919) 787-2401
Toll Free      (800) 222-9806 (NC Only)

Email: jerniganshair@aol.com


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