OCT 27, 2016 06:12 AM PDT

How Chemotherapy Causes Hair Loss

2 3 540

One of the more difficult parts of a cancer diagnosis is hair loss. Depending on what kid of chemotherapy regimen a patient undergoes, and the severity of the disease, some patients will keep their hair, but many patients lose it. It has to do with how cancer works. When cells grow and divide normally, a process called mitosis, it's all good. When cancer happens, cells go into overdrive, replicating and spreading the disease into tumors, sometimes even moving to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The goal of chemotherapy is to shut down the rampant mitosis, but many of the regularly used drugs shut down all cell growth, not just the cancerous cells.

Hair cells are naturally pretty fast at dividing, since the hair is constantly growing. Chemo drugs act on these cells, and other fast dividing cells and the result is that new hair growth is shut down and eventually the hair is starved of new cells and falls out. Once the medication is stopped however, the cells are back at it and most of the time hair is regrown. While hair loss and other side effects from chemo are a drag, if the end result is good health, then it's a fair trade.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 08, 2018
Videos
JUL 08, 2018
They Say an Elephant Never Forgets...
They say an elephant never forgets, but is this really true? It’s a question that scientists have been trying to answer for ages, and as it turns out
JUL 17, 2018
Videos
JUL 17, 2018
Novartis Ends Antibiotic Research
The United Nations has warned that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant microbes might kill ten million people every year.
JUL 22, 2018
Videos
JUL 22, 2018
Goodbye to Louisiana
One-fourth of Louisiana’s coastline has already disappeared since just the 1930s. Every hour, Louisiana loses about a football field of land to the s
AUG 01, 2018
Videos
AUG 01, 2018
Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Happen in the Summer
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a temporary mental condition where people feel sad or depressed because of the season and weather. It’s mos
AUG 08, 2018
Videos
AUG 08, 2018
Pesticide Use in Cannabis Farming
What's the first thing you do when you get home with freshly bought fruits and vegetables? You wash them off to make sure they are clean and free of re
AUG 16, 2018
Videos
AUG 16, 2018
Why won't my ears stop ringing?
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus in some form. Two million of those people suffer from ringing in their ears so severely that they ca
Loading Comments...