Taxotere Doesn’t Discriminate

I took photos of my hair returning because I was so excited.  I remember the earlier photos and how I thought I looked like a dandelion – and then it all stopped with this. Nothing has changed in five years . . .

I took photos of my hair when it started to return because I was so excited. I remember the earlier photos and how I thought I looked like a dandelion, then it all stopped with this. Nothing has changed in five years . . .

We’ve banded together as bald breast cancer female survivors. We found each other via this site and our numbers continue to grow.

I have always wondered about the people who don’t find us, are befuddled by their lack of hair, don’t report, or succumb to their disease and this side effect remains unknown. I have particularly wondered about people with OTHER cancers treated with Taxotere. Last week, I had my first experience with this.

I met a man, a prostate cancer survivor, who was treated with Taxotere. He commended to me (totally unsolicited) that prior to his treatment with Taxotere he had a full head of beautiful silver hair.  Since his hair “grew back” after Taxotere, it is thin, brittle and dull.  Because he is a man, I think it is easy to overlook this as a potential side effect from Taxotere vs. a man aging. He is convinced it’s from the Taxotere and so am I, knowing what I now know.

This man likely fits into that group of people treated with Taxotere who either don’t report this to their oncologist, or who are brushed off by their oncologists. We all know who we were and how our hair was before it all fell out and how it only sort of grew back—here and there or not at all. How can it possibly be anything else?

We’re all around us, male and female, and as Taxotere is being used to treat a lot of different cancers, our numbers will continue to grow. Every time I see a woman (yes, it’s always a women because as a society we tend to accept bald men) whose hair is thinner than typical thinning that often comes with aging, I always wonder, “Did she have cancer and was she treated with Taxotere?”

I would never have given a second thought about that man’s hair loss I’ve described above — and I should! Taxotere doesn’t discriminate, is not used solely in treating breast cancer, and as its use continues to become more prevalent, we should be warned of this potential PERMANENT side effect — all of us!

by Suzanne   

8 thoughts on “Taxotere Doesn’t Discriminate

  1. It has been 3 years and 4 months since I lost my hair to Taxotere.
    My life has totally changed. I have lost the vibrant personality I used to have.
    I hide under hats and wigs. I have so little hair I shave it all off. I would rather look at a bald head in the mirror than the freakishly little hair that does grow.
    Life can never be like it used to be.

    Karen (Canada)

  2. I can live with my Frankenstein boobs. I can deal with all the other body changes. What I still can’t accept is that at 41 I had the hairstyle of an elderly man. Nine years later, no change. Now I spend obscene amounts of money on wigs. They solve most of my problems but I’m so embarrassed when people learn the truth. My femininity has been altered and damaged. If I’d had a choice, I would have gone with Taxol. If I’d known my options. If I’d been aware of the risks. I should have had a choice. And in my opinion. Taxotere shouldn’t be available to ANYONE. Doctors should know. Patients should know. And someone should be buying me a new wig every year!

  3. I had TCH, finished the 6 cycles of TCH in December 2014 and finished the 12 cycles of H (Herceptin) in October 2015. My hair is thinner but other than that seem to be normal, than sometime in December 2015, my hair start to fall out again (remember I have finish all chemo and no other drugs are taken). Most hair fall out in male pattern baldness, so my hair look much like Suzanne, except that it black (I’m Asian) and very dry like straw.

  4. I remember to this day when my doctor told me my hair would grow right back thick and long like it was after my TAC chemo was over. Well that was in 2012, it is now 2017 and I’m still waiting.

  5. Oh my God, and I thought it was just me. 2 years post FEC- Taxotere and on Tamoxifen for the foreseeable future. I have an Oncologist who shrugs her shoulders and says “well, we always hope the hair will come back”. From having a long, thick head of hair I now have something resembling Candy Floss. The hair in my armpits has more substance. Nobody warns you of this. If I’m honest, if the Cancer comes back I will not be doing chemo again. Would rather take my chances with the disease.
    Lou (UK)

  6. It’s very disturbing that Sanofi Aventis was aware of this side effect and yet continued to shove it into the market. Class action lawsuits are taking place.

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