The popular quote, “Cancer is a word, not a sentence,” is now, fortunately, more true than ever. If you’ve recently received the news that you are cancer-free, you may be starting to make plans that don’t revolve around doctor appointments, medical treatments and long stretches of post-treatment down time. While October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, surviving any type of cancer represents a new beginning that deserves to be celebrated.
Today, hair restoration is increasingly being considered an important step in the healing process. Our team at Tempus Hair Restoration, led by Dr. Marco Barusco, feels privileged to help these patients reclaim their life.
Because each patient is unique, evaluation of when hair restoration treatment can begin varies. If celebrating a cancer-free declaration by your oncologist means making plans to get your hair back to a full, healthy appearance, you should learn as much as possible about your options. It’s important to know that the experience and skill of the hair restoration doctor you select will make a significant difference in the results you can expect.
As a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Barusco has a depth of medical knowledge not found with many other hair restoration specialists. Combined with the advanced hair replacement procedures and non-surgical treatments he utilizes (and in some cases, pioneered), Dr. Barusco is recognized as a leader in providing specialized care to post-cancer patients.
Does every cancer survivor need hair restoration treatment?
Hair loss is a typical side-effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapies. In the case of chemotherapy, hair usually begins to grow back approximately two to three months after the last treatment. Chemotherapy also causes the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes. When scalp hair regrows, it may be a different color or texture than before treatment, or areas of regrowth may be irregular. Occasionally, however, as a result of extremely high doses of certain drug combinations, the loss will be permanent.
Unlike chemotherapy – which works systemically (throughout the body) – radiation therapy targets a specific area, using high-energy particles of waves to destroy cancer cells. It may be used alone, or in conjunction with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can burn the skin over the treatment area, which may permanently kill hair follicles. Regrowth occurs at a slower rate than after chemotherapy, at an expected four to six months for an inch of hair.
So the short answer to this frequently asked question is “no.” If hair regrowth is satisfactory in the amount of scalp coverage and overall aesthetic effect – even if it looks different than before – enjoy this important progress! But for those who are not experiencing regrowth or a satisfactory amount of regrowth – or if radiation treatments or surgery to the head have resulted in scarring – hair restoration treatment could be an option. In the second situation, a hair transplant that successfully conceals such scars can also provide a powerful psychological boost, as your self-image as a healthy, whole person is restored and you no longer feel that others see your scar instead of seeing you.
What types of hair restoration procedures and treatments are available?
A wide variety of surgical and non-surgical restoration options are available for post-cancer clients. However, the first – and most important – question should be, “What are the qualifications of the surgeon?”
Not every hair restoration practice can provide the high level of surgical experience or sterile surgical environment required to treat those who have recovered from cancer. It is especially important to only consider surgeons who focus solely on hair restoration. Those who also offer “full-service” aesthetic procedures typically lack the level of medical education and experience to provide the safest possible environment and best possible outcome.
And despite the sophisticated marketing campaigns for practices utilizing robotic devices to harvest hair follicles, such are best avoided. We strongly encourage you to read Dr. Barusco’s insightful article about the risks involved with robotic technology and hair transplants performed by non-licensed, non-medical technicians.
To learn about the procedures and treatments that are available for post-cancer clients, please visit our website’s page, Chemotherapy Hair Regrowth, which also includes post-radiation hair restoration procedures:
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
- No-Shave Follicular Unit Extraction
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
- Medical Treatments (includes prescription-strength hair restoration medications and other solutions)
Other important factors to consider
Tempus Hair Restoration maintains the highest standards of environmental services (EVS) in the operating room to ensure infection control – far above the measures taken by other hair restoration practices. This is especially imperative for patients with a weakened immune system, as results from chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Your safety is always our foremost priority.
Before scheduling a consultation with any hair restoration surgeon, discuss your intention to undergo hair restoration with your oncologist. If he or she agrees that you’re ready to move ahead, choose your surgeon wisely.
During your long, challenging journey back to health, we hope you had the support of a dedicated medical team who went beyond treating your condition to heal you as a complete person. You can be assured that you will find the same dedicated, compassionate treatment here at Tempus Hair Restoration.
If you are ready to take the next step in your healing, we are here to help you achieve the results you want to make the most of your new life. Schedule a free, no-obligation virtual consultation with Dr. Barusco to discuss your goals and learn your options. We look forward to hearing from you!