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Chemo with radiation/ Did your hair fall out?

donna b
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2013

I'm just getting ready to begin treatment and I know it sounds vain (in the oveall picture) but did most of you lose your hair?  I never read about that in the side effects for HNC treatment.  

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

I might as well cut my hair short cuz I'd be losing it....well, I didn't lose any with Cisplatin....and only a little with 5FU....aw, but it gave me the opportunity to see if I liked my hair short...and I do!! Laughing  Radiation will take a swath of hair about 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches off the back of your head at the nape....but mine has almost fully come back.  That's the only place I had any real hair loss....Some ofthe guys lost their beards....


Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

bits.   It depends where the radiation enters and exits.  1st time I lost about 1 1/2 along nape of neck weeks after treatment had ended.  Last time it came out on the side by the ear, combover!  It does come back.

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1216
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Donna B,

I know, I know... look at my pic and I'm bald ~lol~ I was that way BEFORE chemo and rads. It depends on the chemo drug(s) used but I didn't lose any "other" hair due to Cisplatin. However, the rads stopped my beard from growing which I don't think you have to worry about ;) Some lost a strip of hair on the back of their necks from the radiation. 

Positive thoughts and prayers



osmotar's picture
Posts: 1005
Joined: Jul 2011

I lost all my hair except eyelashes and eyebrows with chemo, the eyelasheseyebrows were gone durIng radiation. it all started to come back as fuzz maybe 3-4 months after all treament completed - Dec 2011..19 months later it's all back....I never minded the bald look. 


cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

My loved one did not lose much to speak of....just the nape area and he is now 9 months from when treatment ended and it's almost filled back in. He had Carboplatin & Placlitaxel as his Chemo. Dr's told him ahead of time he would most likely not lose his hair from the chemo, he would lose it from the radiation that hit that specific area.

You will do fine and the hair will most likely not be lost.


peggylulu's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Dec 2012

I did not have Chemo , and I did lose a thin strip on the back of my neck . It did however thin out a lot after treatments , I think due to not eating enough Protien my PCP thinks it may have been due to stress . Whaterever it was I'm not losing it near as much now that I'm ten months out of tx. Like they say on here we are all different so good luck on not losing it .


donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012


During induction chemo, triple coctail, Taxotere, Cisplatin, and 5FU, I lost all my facial and scalp hair and thinned all the rest from arms, legs, and privvy.  Even the eyebrows got thin but enough there to not get any severe rubbernecking, at least not that i noticed.

It all came back in a few months, except it seems less abundant which may be a case of me just noticing that with 60 around the corner, hair does thin out. LOL

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4302
Joined: May 2012


Vanity goes out the window or is put on hold for a while as you do the dance.  Your hair is only a part, be it visible part.

I was part of the Erbitux crowd, which has a side effect of making hair grow (eye lashes, eye brows, belly hair).  Now the radiation had me joining the no nape hair club and still today I have 99.9% fewer whiskers on my neck.

Good luck, you will do great.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Like Don, and Linda... I too had Cisplatin, Taxotere and 5FU, then Carboplatin as a kicker...

I lost all hair, everywhere, when it came back I swear it was like going through puberty, LOL... My head hair started coming back like a troll doll back in the 60 - 70's... Fine white and straight...

I even lost my toe nails, all of those, and most fingernails were so britlle that when I'd cut them, one clip and the entire end would come off.

Again, like Don, it all came back...


Well, let me clarify, all came back other than the areas hit by rads...

I have about an inch on the nape of my neck that is pretty mucg bare, or fuzzy at best. My beard from the jawline down is pretty much gone, not a problemn there..., now I only have to shave about once a week...

Those old pesky grair, long hairs that grow in all of the places you'd rather them not.... Those suckers were some of the first to come back too...

My advice... it's only hair, more than likely it's going to grow back... If it didn't..., at least you'd be alive to tell your side of the story...


My "nurses" taking care of me.. during my no hair stage,,,.





debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

that is a great pic!  i think they love you...lol.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

room everyday, I got so I liked the bald look....I'm not kidding here.  The ladies...when their hair was growing in....all had these cute little caps of hair, and to me, they all looked very chic and cute. 


yensid683's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2012

Is what lost me my hair for the most part, (taxol, cisplatin and 5FU) early May had me faily smooth, but I never lost eyelashes or eyebrows.  It started to grow back in late July, though I did lose a swath around my neck, roughly from the jaw line down.  Makes shaving in the morning easier.  Here it is more than a year later and unless you really know where to look, it is not noticeable.  Some of the hair on the back of my neck has started to come back, but not much to speak of....

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

on my entire body, lol.  Lost eyebrows, eyelashes, everything. Taxotere and carboplatin.  Most of it grew back, but my eyebrows are much thinner than they were.  I got that fine black hair all over my face with the erbitux as well, but it came out in a handful of months.  Now, radiation was different, of course I[ve been zapped twice.  I  probably have 200 beard/mustache hairs left, not more than that.  And I lost a band of hair around the back of my head that never came back.   A small price to pay.

Posts: 757
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband's first radiation and chemo (cisplatin) he didn't lose any hair.  Thinner out some but at his age normal.  Second round of radiation and chemo (carboplatin) he did not lose any hair.  Now I know when my sister underwent radiation and chemo for breast cancer, she lost all her hair, so did my Aunt when she undewent radiation and chemo for esophageal cancer.


Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011

I lost all of mine.  It depends what kind of chemo you have.  Some cause hair loss and some do not.  Ann

Roar's picture
Posts: 265
Joined: Mar 2013

i had citspatin - didnt lose any hair from that - however i did lose some hair from the upper neck area on the back of my head. i also didnt have to shave for a long time. All hair has now returned excpt under my chin where i use to shave

nick770's picture
Posts: 195
Joined: May 2012

cisplatin and radiation i only lost a small strip on the back of my head, 

when my cancer metastisiesd  Taxotere,   and 5FU took all of my hair and threw me into radiation reall  Cry

CherieLW's picture
Posts: 472
Joined: May 2013

My dad went through trtmnts and his hair did thin quite a bit. He also lost his signature tashe'.

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I had rads and cisplatin...after tx completed, I lost 2-3 inches at nap of neck from the rads which has grown back.. The rest did seem to thin a bit. By the time it got to losing hair, it really didn't matter in the scheme of things.

hlrowe's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2012

I only had 6 cisplatin treatments and I did start to shed quite a bit. Still had plenty of hair. It stopped about 3 mo after treatment as I recall?

donna b
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks everyone for the comments regarding hair loss. It seem like everyone is different, as with other side effects. Well, my journey is about to begin. Two more days and I will go to get fitted for my mask and to meet the staff. Radiation begins next week, with chemo starting the following week. The closer it gets, the more scared I get. Just trying to enjoy my "last" meals.


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

donna, sorry u r scared about tx but i think we all were.  once its started tho, the days go fast and u r n the recovery stage b4 u know it!!  hang n there and come here ofte.  we're here to encourage u and answer any questions u may have.  let us know how u do.


donna b
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2013

dr decided to use urbitux. side effects anyone?  today is treatment number 1.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

I've heard about with erbitux is the skin issues....like bad acne.  I'm trying to remember if it itched, but it seems to me most people didn't have any pain.  You are going to do fine....truly.  I think it's easier on the body than Cisplatin....and in my opinion, even Cisplatin is easier than 5FU. 

Rads have their own set of side effects than come on gradually....stick around here and ask questions.....these folks will help you get through those.


cadharose's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2013

I had 35 days of IMRT and 3 rounds of Cisplatin (that was the only chemo drug I received). The only hair I lost was due to the radiation. I didn't lose any hair from the chemo. The hair I lost was on the back of my head at the nape of my neck where they aimed the radiation, and that is growing back, thankfully.

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