Hair loss, known as Alopecia, is a very frequent consequence of cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or bone marrow transplants. Sometimes can be reversible but in some cases the hair loss is permanent, causing emotional trauma for some patients so severe as to lead to refusing or delaying treatment.
Chemotherapy generally acts by interfering with rapidly dividing cells like cancer and hair follicle cells causing the hair loss but not only from scalp also from lashes, eyebrows, pubic hair, and other body parts. The most likely drugs to induce alopecia are Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Doxorubicin, Paclitaxel, Vincristine, Fluorouracil, Cyclophosphamide, Epirubicin, Docetaxel, Fulvestrant to mention some.
Today Alopecia due to chemotherapy is very common and, in many cases, unavoidable. A recommendation for delaying the hair loss is to wear a cold cap therapy that cools the scalp causing the blood vessels to narrow decreasing the blood flow and the reaching of the drug to the hair follicles. Other recommendations would be to choose a gentle shampoo, not wash your hair every day, use sun protection and tale vitamin B biotin.
But not all is lost, a study published on August 2019 shows that taxanes are the main cause of hair loss and discovered that the drug Palbociclib an inhibitor of CDK4/6 protect cells from the toxicity of chemotherapy, so maybe in the next years the alopecia will no longer be a consequence of chemotherapy.