How well you cope with hair loss from chemotherapy depends a lot on knowing what to expect. During chemo, your hair will most likely start falling out between the 10th and 14th days after your first cycle of treatment. And then it usually all falls out within 24 hours after hair loss begins. If your hair is long, you may want to prepare for your hair loss by cutting it short right before your first treatment. It's much less traumatic to see short pieces of hair in the shower than foot-long hanks of hair.
If your hair is longer than 10 inches, consider donating your hair to "Locks of Love
," an organization that makes wigs for children dealing with hair loss due to chemo or other illnesses. Knowing that the hair you lost is being used for a very worthwhile purpose can make you feel good. Or, you may want to save your hair for a wig for yourself. You can do that, but know that it won't be ready in time for you to wear it right away. Making a wig usually takes months.
When will your hair grow back? Toward the end of your chemo treatments, since these drugs are what caused the hair to fall out in the first place. The new hair will start off looking like peach fuzz before fully growing out, usually curly, over the next several months. In some women, the hair grows back gray, but don't rush to color it because it won't hold the hair dye's pigment until several months have passed.
Don't be surprised if you get lots of compliments on your curly new 'do. This "chemo curl," as it has been nicknamed by patients, may even convince you to keep your hair short and curly in the future.