Are you still bald after chemo? Are you hiding under a baseball cap long after your hair was supposed to grow back? Are your doctors perplexed? If so, you may be one of a growing number of people around the world who have experienced persistent chemo-induced alopecia, or hair loss.
According to Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere—used to treat breast, lung, gastric, head and neck and prostate cancer—3% of patients administered the drug could experience long-term alopecia. This figure could rise to as high as 6.3% when given in combination with the drugs Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cyclophosphamide, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado.
“Such an emotionally devastating long-term toxicity from this combination must be taken into account when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy programs in women who likely will be cured of their breast cancer,” the study concludes.
Despite this recommendation, patients are not being informed of this potentially disfiguring side effect.
A Head of Our Time is a world-wide organization of cancer patients who have banded together to share emotional support, compare medical research and educate our health care providers. If you are tired of the stares and the dismissive suggestions to “wear a wig”, you will find understanding and, indeed, empowerment among us.