Hair falling out!


Had my first FEC chemo 17 days ago.  Used the cold cap but my hair started 'thinning' around day 14 and is still coming out (all over the floor!!).  Its not coming out in handfulls but is 'thinning' all over - luckily I have very thick hair so hoping to keep some of it - does this 'thinning' stop or does it carry on thinning until its all gone!?  What are other peoples experiences please.

Thanks in advance to all your replies - don't know what I would do without this forum!




  • Hey janey,

    Can't say I waited that long. My hair started coming out after two weeks. But I didn't use a cold cap. I was gonna go all or nothing. 

    I found the morning when loads of hair was on my pillowcase really traumatic, and so I got my son to shave it off. By the looks of it, it would have come out much more radically around the sides, as opposed to the top of the head - really the other way round to the way men lose their hair. So that wouldn't have looked cool. 

    My greatest worry in retrospect was, that I was so scared that I wouldn't recognise myself after - and that's just not the case. I am relieved to say, it's still me! But I don't have the trauma of watching it go every day and worrying myself. I picked out hair from my head like picking flowers in the garden. It wasn't nice. 

    And I am really enjoying the head scarves, messing around, and finding a little bit of a new side to me. 

    Dorothee xx

    Find info through Macmillan Booklets here

    Believe in Better! xx 

                      Click here to find out more</

  • Hi

    I've been using the cold cap. I found quite a bit of hair seemed to come out just after my second round. Thought the lot was going to go! after a few days though it really slowed down. My hair is really thick too. Bits still come out but not much, have 3rd chemo in just over a week so will see what happens then but so far still have a normal head of hair and it's over 4 weeks since first chemo xxx


  • Hi,

    Cold cap must be working for you then!! I am 18 days past first FEC and hair is thinning radically - didn't use cold cap so inevitable I suppose!!

    Think I might get the clippers out tonight as hubby has just mentioned I have a slightly bald patch on top!!

    Well done to those of you who persevere with the cold cap - I just couldn't face the extra time having chemo but you get the rewards in the long run. Cassie xxxxxx

    Fortune favours the bold

  • I had my 3rd lot of chemo using the cold cap last Monday.

    So far I pretty much have a full head of hair, I had it cut to shoulder lenght at start.

    I have found that when I give it the first wash after chemo(I try to leave this as long as poss) I seem to lose some then, yesterday I thought I was going to lose the lot as it just seemed to be coming out in my hands, I dident brush it and just left it to dry and tried not to fiddle with it, then in the morning it had setttled down and only seem to be losing a few hairs so im hoping it will hold out,

    From what I have read on here people seem to get the strange feeling and pain in scalp and im hoping if you dont get that that you dont lose it



  • The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of chemotherapy and the amount given. Anticipating and managing side effects can help to minimize them and provide the best possible experience when you have chemotherapy. Many chemotherapy agents are designed to kill fast-growing cells. This means that they affect healthy growing cells as well as cancer cells. Because cells in hair follicles are fast growing, many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, or alopecia. People can lose hair from anywhere on the body -- the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial and pubic hair. Loss usually occurs 2 to 3 weeks into treatment, depending on the specific drugs being given.

  • Hi Janey

    I'm due my 3rd FEC this Friday.  I opted not to go with the cold cap - I hate the cold!  So I can't comment on that but my hair started falling out on day 18 of the first round - not loads but about 15 strands would come out when I rand my fingers through it.  Then on the day of the second lot, it really started to come out in handfuls, so the next day my hairdresser buzzed it all off to a number 4 for me.  It continued to come out over the next few days, short hairs were everywhere, so I had to wear a bandana indoors to try and stop the mess!  And I could "Pick it out like flowers" too!  Then it just stopped and no more has fallen out since.  I'm very thin and patchy but I do have some hair left, and not all body hair has gone either.  Will have to wait and see if any more falls out after Friday.

    I do like my scarves though - they are comfy and warm - I have loads and pick a different colour every day according to my outfit - I've only worn my wig once - on New Year's Eve!

    Nettie x

  • Hi,

    I didnt opt for the cold cap either on the advice too of my oncologist as she was adamant my hair would come out, I had short hair to start with so was not too concerned at loosing my locks, it started after to come out about 12days after, so I thought I'm in charge and I got my husband to cut then shave it off, ot was for me quite liberating and have since enjoyed playing around with scarves bought some trendy hats  and skull caps, I have an amazing hat that I bought from John Lewis in the sale and its a bear head very cute, I have had lots of positive feedback from friends and I have started experimenting with make up something that has not bothered me before but love to now do this. Hope this has helped. xxx

  • I had long highlighted blonde hair which I had cut in stages and returned to my natural colour before chemo started. I found the waiting for it to happen much harder to deal with than when it actually did start to fall out. I didn't use the cold cap as I was told that as my hair was already thin on the top it would probably go anyway so didn't fancy the discomfort or the extra time at the chemo clinic to only delay what would probably happen whether or not I used it.  I started to lose my hair at day 18 and about seven days after my second chemo I had lost it all - i didnt shave my head, I picked most of it out but there were some bits that clung fast so I left them - it helped me cope better.  Once chemo was finished and my hair was showing signs of coming back, my daughter shaved all the longer bits off and now it is all growing from the same length :).  

    *** She believed she could and she did ***

  • These oncologists need to read some of these posts,

    Mine was also pretty adamant that mine would fall out ,FEC 100,but  i insisted that would have a go with cold cap,I used the continuous cooling one,cant remember the name ,my memory is worryingly terrible after the chemo and on arimidex.

    After my success with keeping my hair ,the nurses all seemed to take more care with the cold cap for people and leave it on for the correct time after etc

    my hair definately thinned but was presentable enough for me.My main worry was that it would come back grey and again the nurse was fairly negative about the fact that at my age 47 it was likely to. Where I did loose it it has grown back thicker and darker than it has ever been!


  • Not wishing to be controversial and definitely not criticising any treatment I have received, but does anyone think the additional chemo unit/staff time involved in use of the cold cap might influence how enthusiastic or otherwise the oncologists are when discussing the success of the cold cap ?  I do get upset sometimes when I read that people have had success when I didn't even try or be encouraged to try and wonder if the staff had been a bit more positive about the results I could expect, I might have done.  Just wondered what other people's thoughts are? 

    *** She believed she could and she did ***