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Cancer treatments can have short-term and long-term effects on your hair and skin. If you've been through chemotherapy, you may have lost your hair (even your eyebrows).
Radiation treatments can cause skin changes such as dryness, redness, irritation and even a sunburn effect. Cancer survivors have identified that skin and hair changes are a primary concern during and after treatment.
Hair loss and skin changes are physical reminders of your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many people tell me that they don't want to be constantly reminded of their diagnosis when they look in the mirror, or when they see friends and family out in public. For many women, creativity with wigs, scarves and hats can make a big difference.
Also, explore skin care products to moisturize and care for the face and body. Makeup can recreate eyebrows and add vibrant color to your face, lips and eyes. These are just a few ideas that may boost your spirit as you makeover your skin and hair. Many have stated that doing this can help to keep a sense of comfort and normality as you deal with the additional physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has supportive resources to help with hair and skin care. Their Look Good ... Feel Better program is available in most U.S. communities and internationally (www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org or call 1-800-395-LOOK). The ACS program is designed to meet the needs of men and women, and has a special program for teens.
I'd love to hear of your experiences, resources and ideas on this topic.
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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My Mother has squamous cell carcinoma on her nose. She is looking for a moisturizer that will not irritate the cancer. Any suggestions would really help her.
very nice sharing regarding hairs find out more hairs care and remedies on beauty tips
Greetings, I was diagnosed in March with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy and radiation.I am now on Arimidex for 5 years. I am now experiencing hair loss, a lot of hair loss. I am using prescription shampoo. I think it is mostly due to the Arimidex. I would like to know your experiences, please.
Feb 6th 2012,I had a hysterectomy,when ovarian cancer was discovered.first treatment resulted in vomiting. I ended up in the hospital for over 13 days.Now I have no hair,eyebrows,eyelashes.I suffer from insomnia,I fell very depress no-one seem to understand.I dislike the wigs.I have been on extended sick leave for the past7 months.I live alone.my blood count are always low after treatment which makes it hard to go out.please give me some hope.
I think It is a awesome post. can I get some more information to???
I JUST FINISHED MY RADIATION THERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER. I HAD A LUMPECTOMY AND THEN 5 AND A HALF WEEKS OF RADIATION. I DEVELOPED A
sORE OR " BURN" FROM MY TREATMENT. IT ALSO HAS BLISTERED. I AM USING A PEROXIDE SOLUTION
AND AQUAPHOUR CREAM TO HELP WITH THE BURNING AND TO KEEP IT FROM GETTING INFECTED. IS THIS A NORMAL REACTION TO THE RADIATION? IT IS ONLY IN ONE SPOT ABOUT 2IN LONG BY 3IN WIDE. I WAS ALSO TOLD TO KEEP MY BREAST AIRED OUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.THIS IS NOT AN EASY THING TO DO.COULD THEY HAVE USED TOO MUCH RADIATION.
Regarding a wig Betty, I realize you may have one by now, but for me it was a waste of funds. I am an onset stage IV metatastic breast cancer patient. The chemo regimen caused a rash - primarily in my scalp - which rendered wearing the wig impossible. I have wen to work bare headed since Jan 9. My co-workers watched me lose my hair and are just beginning to watch my hair return. Personally, there was a sense of confidence in being 'bald.' I have never been much of a makeup wearer - It was a way to be true to myself to let others see me as I really was throughout the treatment - a reality check of what was happening. ALso, I agree--go to the Look Good Feel Better class near you. A wonderful program - with a wig to boot - try to take the class before you buy a wig.
My dtr just graduated from college and she requested the bald mom to be there. So, as you can see, it is a very individual decision - be who you are and don't let anyone make you feel your choice isn't the best for you. Good luck
I start radiation therapy for breast cancer soon and have been told no underwire bras which is all I own. can anyone who has been through radiation treatment recommend a comfortable bra ? Thanks!
Take a look at look good feel better just launched PSA that tells the lives of some of the program participants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BivkShy0Gyo&feature=youtu.be
Also, WSJ just wrote an article about a study that was just released regarding the emotional/psychological effects: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2012/04/24/help-with-appearance-can-boost-cancer-patients-spirits-survey/#
Well I just found out today at 2:30pm that I have breast cancer. It has taken me this long (8hrs) to be able to settle my mind enough to begin to process this situation, keeping in mind, I said begin. My husband works nights and is asleep and does not know yet. I am not much for fear and have an immensley large tolerance for pain. But I have to admit my mind is swimming with concerns, not for my future life, but the next few steps of my life. I have found that I am naseaus and I think its just nerves, who knows maybe I will lose some weight before treatment and none during. If anyone has any feedback about when they first found out about the cancer they had I would appreciate it.
I am up in the air about a wig. Any comments pro or con? Is it really worth the expense?
I started losing my hair within 2 weeks after my first treatment. I didn't lose my eyebrows/eyelashes until 1.5 months after my final round of chemo. My hair on my head was already coming back. I wore scarves mainly, and since I had to go back to wear glasses, I didn't feel "naked" when my brows and lashes disappeared. However, on the times I did wear a wig, I didn't look like I was "sick". My husband and daughter didn't mind me hairless. And since they didn't care, I wasn't going to worry what the rest of the world thought - they could just deal with it.
I would highly recommend the Look Good feel better program. I received at least $400.00 worth of makeup, received make up tips, learned different ways to tie scarves.The best part was I got to spend the afternoon with women just like me struggling with all the changes of chemo and radiation. It was a wonderful experience of women coming together and supporting each other.
Hi everyone...great disucussion and sharing of ideas. Theresa, it is true that hair thinning is a side effect for some women when they are on Tamoxifen as well as Arimidex. Try creative solutions such as scarves and hats with your hair style to cover the thinning.
I too have thin hair and no eyebrows two full years after chemo. I thought that the hair would grow back thicker but I am still taking tamoxifen which I understand can cause hair thinning. I am hopeful that someday my hair will not look so thin and look so obvious that there is/has been a problem with me. I do not want to wear my wig. I still have another three years of hormone therapy and wonder if aremidex (sp?) thins hair as well. Does anyone out there know if hair will still grow back in once tamoxifen is taken out of the equation?
I have found to make my "dull" face look brighter I add a bronzer to my foundation. It gives me color and I feel better.
Cancer survivors have many more issues to deal with than the temporary loss of hair and skin changes during treatment. As an onset stage 4 breast cancer survivor, I have been more concerned with the contents of the treatments that we use to resist the signs of aging that we are now so hopefully looking forward too; premature death from cancer is just not an option.
I am concerned with the transdermal effects of the chemicals in the moisturizer. Did you know that the favored new preservative is a chemical solvent named phenoxyethanol that is a USDA classified skin irritant and carcinogen usually found in paint, lacquer and jet fuel. Touted as a safer alternative to parabens that show up as estrogens in breast cancer biopsies. and that is just the tip of the toxic iceberg in the cosmetics industry.
I hate to self promote but some of your readers may find the preventative information I have researched in my 3 years BC mostly in remission by the way. I am at Help Your Own Healing,com.
I tried to take on the big bad boys and with thorough journalistic attention to research - no hearsay here - to pay it forward. Please drop by. Set up like a school for survivors, I am always bringing hopeful new data because hopelessness and helplessness are among our biggest enemies. Thank you, Sheryl, for the positive encouragement. Another great source that is often free at your oncologist is the book, Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kiederer.
Been there, done that with the loss of eyebrows. This is the firt time I've heard about temporary eyebrows ktsmny. Good to know! I hardly had any before, but found it a challenge for some people trying to use eyebrow pencils that never wore makeup like I'm use to. I've shown some people how easy light short strokes with pencils would look fine, but this information is great; even if you used them only for special outings. Thank you for sharing. It is always good to come to this site to learn something new. I will be certain to share with the various support groups in my area.
very useful information.....keep it up!!!!
I lost my hair, eyebrows, etc to cancer treatment in 2009. My hair has returned but with a greatly receded hairline and NO EYEBROWS at all. I can comb my new curly hair forward to somewhat cover my forehead and where my sideburns should be but makeup was a poor substitute for my brows. I finally found temporary tattoos on-line and they stay on for 4 or 5 days. No more waking up and looking in the mirror at my "cancer face." Yeah!
I came across your blog when googling for cool biotechnology articles – didn’t expect to find this, but enjoyed some of your posts. Keep it up.
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