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Hairloss - shave it all off?

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  • Hairloss - shave it all off?

    I'm going to be starting chemo on the 18th. 3 cycles bep. Having said that, I'm going to ask a shallow question.

    Should I shave my head? Completely?

    I'm probably going to get some kind of hair cut, cause I know my hair is going to come out, and I'd prefer not to have huge clumps of hair falling all over the place. However, I'm wondering if theres a specific hair cut I should ask for. Anyone have any experience about this?

    I'm not entirely sure if I should get a buzzcut, real short to my skull, or if I should keep cutting until every bit of hair is gone.

    It seems weird to be asking such a shallow question about serious treatment, but I haven't heard a lot of information on this. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by 63days; 09-11-06, 05:21 AM. Reason: context
    Sleep Without Dreams - 63 days of Chemotherapy

  • #2
    My hair started falling out after week 1 of the second cycle of BEP. Therefore if you wish, you should be able to keep your current haircut for the first 4 weeks of chemotherapy.

    I basically waited until a sharp tug with my fingers would dislodge a whole clump of hair. Then I went to the barbers and asked for a no.1 with the clippers, the closest available.

    About a week after having my no.1, nothing much was keeping my hair in place, but most of it was still losely attached. A nurse recommended that I go for an invigorating head rub in the shower. I went into the shower with almost a full covering of hair, and came out completely bald. This was a good way of doing it because I didn't go through the patchy hair phase.

    Diagnosed March 2006, Stage IIB, 3cm RP mass
    10% Seminoma, 90% Non-Seminoma (Embryonal, and a tiny amount of choriocarcinoma and teratoma)
    Prechemo bHCG-2648, AFP-582
    3xBEP March-June, markers normalised
    3 months postchemo - 1.2cm residual RP mass
    RPLND September 2006 - mostly necrotic tissue plus tiny amount of well differentiated teratoma
    June 2009 - TRT commenced to help out my lefty
    May 2011 - check-up, all clear


    • #3
      That's really not a shallow question at all. For many people, losing their hair is the most visible sign that they're coping with cancer. The trick is to try to feel proud about it. You're a survivor, and you're not afraid to show it to the world.
      right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since

      Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!


      • #4
        Hey 6....

        Whether you chose to shave it off or not,it's a "given" that you will be sporting a new hair style soon enough.

        I myself choose to do the deed prior to a chemo-induced hair cut.

        Best of luck with your next round !
        Dec/04-Right I/O-nonseminoma (95%E/C),Stage 1, surveillance
        Nov/05- 2.2 cm lymph node= Stage II A
        Nov/05 -Jan/06-3 x BEP
        Jan/06 -Surveillance



        • #5
          In my case, I waited for a little while and noticed that my hair started to feel like it hadn't been washed in days even though I took a shower every morning. So I had my wife cut it down to a very tight crew cut. Then, once it really started coming out, I shaved again with a razor right down to the scalp. I hated having hair fall out into my food on on my pillow.

          BTW - I finished chemo at the end of July and I have a nice, soft peach fuzz growing all over my head now. And the beard has started to come back!

          Good luck with your chemo.
          TC diagnosed 4/3/06, [email protected]; Left I/O 4/10/06; Stage IIa Non-Seminoma, 100% Yolk Sac; Started 4xEP 5/22/06 with [email protected]; Finshed 4xEP 8/11, AFP normal, CT scans clear! Now on surveillance


          • #6
            For a lot of people I've talked to, watching your hair fall out is the most depressing part of going through chemo. Personally I decided to avoid all that and shaved my head. I knew I would be bald either way, but at least this way I feel like I have some control over the process instead of just waiting for the chemicals to make it fall out.


            • #7
              Don't wait for your hair to fall out, my son did that and it was a mistake. He plucked a bunch out to show us how easily it came out, then latter that night when he shaved it the plucked areas looked different then the shaved and it gave him a very patchy look for the entire time he was getting chemo.
              Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

              Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.


              • #8
                My son's hair started coming out in we shaved it for him, me him and his dad, and we all tried to make it a positive thing....he looked good, and at least he didn;t have to watch it keep falling came back after chemo a little darker and curlier, but now he keeps it quite short...what a difference from the pony tail he sported when he first started college! I prefer the short hair...take care...Mary Ellen


                • #9
                  Before chemo, my husband had a full beard and head of hair. The day before he started chemo, he shaved his beard off bit by bit and we took pictures at every stage -- long sideburns and a goatee, just a goatee, handlebar mustache and a soul patch, regular mustache, skinny mustache. It was hilarious, it definitely took our minds off things. During the first week, he had the barber buzz it really short. He said he was going to do a mohawk, but I think he thought twice when he realized he was going to have to go to work like that for a few days before it all fell out. And when it started falling out, I buzzed it as short as possible. I think it helped to do it gradually.


                  • #10
                    As soon as I started noticing it coming out in clumps I first had a buzz cut (about 1/4 in.). When that started falling out I shaved it. I never realized how cold your head gets without hair! As reported here, losing your hair is one of the most difficult aspects to deal with mentally.

                    I found that my youngest son (10) was having great difficulty with Dad being "sick". He seemed to zero in on the hair falling out in patches as an indicator of how sick I was. He was very sad and cried a lot. After I shaved it, we actually had fun with it as I would have him shine it up for me. Not to mention that we are 3 Stooges fans. I also found that people at work accepted the bald look much better than patchy. Best of luck to you dealing with treatment.
                    Kevin Ricks (46 years old)
                    Diagnosed 2-2006, AFP = 3800, BHCG = 1226. Left I/O 3-2006, Stage 2 Nonseminomous (50% embryonal carcinoma, 30% teratoma), 4XBEP, two tumors in lymph nodes, (12cm x 5cm left periaortic region and 5cm x 5cm left pelvic region) RPLND 8-2006, Pathology is negative, tumor markers negative, surveilance beginning 9-2006.


                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone!

                      Truth be told, I'm actually kinda looking forward to seeing myself with a completely shaved head. My hair has been a constant annoyance, and recently I've grown accustomed to wearing a hat, but this will be a much more permanent solution.

                      As I see it, tc is giving me an excuse to try out something I wouldn't dare do: make a blantant stylistic change, which will take months to undo. Exciting.

                      I'm thinkin my head will be completely white, and if I'm gonna make this actually work, I'm gonna have to change that.
                      Anyone try out any fake tan stuff?
                      Is it easy to tan a part of your body that has never seen sunlight?

                      Sleep Without Dreams - 63 days of Chemotherapy


                      • #12
                        2 Words!!!! Shave It... If not it gets messy-- Who cares what anybody else thinks!!!!!! Best of luck!!!!
                        Moffitt Cancer Institute
                        CANCER SUCKS
                        Diagnosed/Left I/O 9/18/2004--Non-Seminoma/Stage IIIC--3X B.E.P chemo--3X T.I.P. Salvage chemo---Abdominal [email protected] 34cmX 24.5cmX 17.5cm---4/19/2005 --RPLND/Left Kidney,8 1/2lb Abdominal tumor,42 nodes removed---7/16/2005 Remission/Surveillance---Severe Peripheral Neuropathy--


                        • #13
                          My husband shaved as soon as he could run his hand through and hair would come out. He went from ponytail man to bald man! Now I never want him to go back.
                          Lori and Jon
                          Diagnosed 5/22/2006
                          I/O 5/26/2006, Stage 3, Good
                          Teratoma (Majority), Seminoma (10%), Yolk Sac
                          3xEP then determined not working
                          HDC w/stem cell transplant 8/16/06 to 9/25/06
                          Chest and Neck surgery 10/9/06 - immature teratoma
                          RPLND 11/16/06 - immature Teratoma
                          2/29/2008 - markers continue to be normal!
                          9/16/2008 - released from Dr. Einhorn's care


                          • #14
                            I decided to shave mine off when I woke up one morning and my pillow looked like a cat, there was so much hair on it. I didn't want to go through the shock of it all falling out, plus as weird as it sounds, it sort of gave me a little mental boost knowing that I beat the chemo from stealing my hair. I could then relate that to myself beating the cancer. I know, its weird, but it helped me get by!!!

                            Like the Nike slogan, 'Just do it!"
                            4/11/06 Markers: AFP-41.0 & HCG-88
                            4/13/06 Left I/O
                            4/19/06 Diagnosed w/ nonseminoma;80% yolk sac, 15% teratoma, and 5% embryonal carcinoma
                            5/10/06 Markers: AFP-4.7 & HCG-1
                            5/12/06 RPLND surgery @ HUP
                            6/19/06 Started 2 cycles of EP
                            7/14/06 Completed 2 cycles of EP

                            8/19/11 - Received what I call now my "five year-all clear"!!!
                            8/20/11 - First Livestrong Challenge in Philly!


                            • #15
                              A week before i started chemo, I took a #1 buzz attachment and took it all off before it took itself off. I feel more in control if I do it on my own time, not the chemical's time. My wife loves it!
                              01/16/06 markers at 134 / 117
                              01/19/06 right i/o
                              01/26/06 diagnosed with 100% embryonal nonseminoma
                              2/11/06 AFP at 6.5, HCG below 2
                              3/8/06 RPLND; 1 of 21 nodes removed contains cancer
                              3/22/06 markers normal; surveillance
                              8/23/06 AFP at 13; CT detected nodes in lungs
                              9/11/06 3xBEP begins