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When do you start losing your hair when going through chemotherapy?


Updated June 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: When do you start losing your hair when going through chemotherapy?
I am set to start chemotherapy next week and was wondering when I should expect to lose my hair. Will hair loss be immediate?
Answer: Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is dependent on a few factors: Which chemotherapy drug(s) you are taking and at what dosage. Some people undergoing lowered dosage chemotherapy regimens tend to experience milder forms of treatment side effects, which can mean less hair loss or no hair loss at all. However, most people begin losing their hair following their first cycle of chemotherapy -- usually 2 to 3 weeks after. Some people will initially notice excessive amounts of hair falling out in the shower or while they brush their hair. Other may experience clumps of hair falling out right away - it varies from person to person.

The good news is that the hair loss is temporary for the majority of people. About 4 to 6 weeks after completing chemotherapy, hair begin to regrow. When hair does grow back, it may be a different texture or possibly a different color than it was before you started treatment. For example, if you had straight hair, it may grow back in curly. The color may be slightly different as well.

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