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All TopicsForum: Help Me Get Through Treatment → Topic: Gray hair after chemo

Topic: Gray hair after chemo

Forum: Help Me Get Through Treatment — Medications and other treatments, medical benefits, and managing side effects.

Posted on: Feb 5, 2008 06:06AM

joanne_elizabeth wrote:

I understand this is down there with the list of worries I have now, but anyone else turn out much more gray after surgery, chemo no hair?  I can't believe how gray I am.
 Thanks,

Joanne 

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Feb 5, 2008 08:02AM LottaQuilts wrote:

Yeah, me too.  I'm getting a "glaze" put in tomorrow.  My hairdresser says it's much more gentle than regular color (I'm only a couple months out of chemo and still have pretty short, soft hair).  The idea is to make the greys look more like highlights and less grey.

She says sometimes it covers the grey, sometimes not.  But - at least I have HAIR.  It's growing fast and at this rate I'll be ready for a cut and color within a few months, I'm sure!

Abbi

dx 3/15/07, lump. 5/15, 1.4 cm; ER+; 1 of 3 nodes+; A/Cx4; Taxol x12; 3rd gen survivor but BRCA neg (go figure)

Dx 4/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 5, 2008 08:23AM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

Interesting - I guess the chemo turns our hair grayer?  My hairdresser told me not to dye it for a year! I know I startle people when they see me cause it used to be chin length and brown and golden highlight and now mostly grey.  Course if this is the price I pay for no more cancer I would take it!

Joanne_elizabeth

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Feb 5, 2008 08:45AM abbadoodles wrote:

Joanne E, no my hair did not come back with any more gray than it was before.   I don't know if it's common to come back more gray or not, but some people report having it start growing back in almost colorless and very fine, like baby hair.  Maybe that is what you are seeing and it will get darker as it grows out.

Tina

Tina

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Feb 5, 2008 08:48AM TerryNY wrote:

My hair is coming back almost all gray, not happy with it but like Abbi said, it's hair!   It's very soft too, I love the feel of it but not the color.  I was told 6 months before coloring. 

Terry

Dx 2/13/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 5, 2008 09:40AM Harley44 wrote:

HI.  I am here to report that my hair is ALL GRAY!  It is so depressing! 


Terry, I read that we need to wait six months, also.  I will see my onc today, and maybe I'll ask him about the hair color/cancer link.

I agree....bc sucks!  It takes so much from us!  but, we have to fight it with all we've got!  We only have ONE life to live.

Harley

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Feb 5, 2008 10:42AM wishiwere wrote:

Do you think the grey is related to our ages?  Mine is far from starting to grow in, but how old is everyone that is reported the grey?  If you don't mind?

wishiwere~ Path read stage 1C- 1st Primary was IDC w/DCIS 1.4 cm, ER/PR+ & HER2-

Dx 9/21/2007, ILC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 5, 2008 10:51AM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

Hi,

I am older - 56 and had colored prior to bc, but I don't think it was as gray then as now. I look at my siblings and the ones closet in age are not nearly as gray.

Joanne 

Joanne_elizabeth

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Feb 5, 2008 10:51AM wvprius wrote:

My hair came in pure white.  I had colored it for years, so who knows what color it was.  I'm 62 so wasn't surprised when it came in white.  It's still really short so I'm using gel and spiking it up.  I get lots of compliments and sometimes even think people aren't just being nice.  Everyone says, don't color it again, it looks great.  I'm just so glad to have hair and to lose the scarves, hairpiece, etc.  I barely had any hair when I gave them all away to someone else who could use them.  Hey, we've got to be positive.  That's half the battle, to know we've beat it.  Hope everyone is having a peaceful day.

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Feb 5, 2008 12:13PM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

All,

Thanks for the responses.  I have an appt with an onc tomorrow and will ask her professional opinion.  Purple hair would be better than bald  but there are many losses with this disease.

Joanne  

Joanne_elizabeth

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Feb 5, 2008 12:15PM chemo072 wrote:

I thought that hair after chemo would likely grow in more gray and more curly than before, and then change?

Mine seems to be taking on highlights and getting less gray on it's own....as it gets curlier! :) :) 

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Feb 5, 2008 12:17PM, edited Feb 5, 2008 12:18PM by chemo072

Also, I'm delighted to have grey sparkles in my hair BTW - I'm 39 - and consider it a badge of honor to have lived long enough to have grey hair.

Joanne, pls let us know what your onc. says.

Are you all recovered from rads BTW?  I remember that we were making that decision at about the same time....it took 8 weeks post-rads for me to feel human again :) 

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Feb 5, 2008 12:47PM star wrote:

My hair is just falling out, It's a mess. Any suggestions?  I'm glad you are all over with this!  Star

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Feb 5, 2008 02:23PM sharebear wrote:

I've been done with chemo since mid september. Mine also came in with alot of gray. I'm 45 and had no gray before chemo. I colored my hair for the first time at Christmas. The end of January my Aunt (she owns a salon) bleached it blond. If I use the straightener on it I get that rock and roll Billy Idle look. Kind of cute looking actually. Makes it look more like a hair do. My Onc. got a kick out of it this morning. He's nick named me his fighter. We've been patient and doc. for 13 years now. He laughed and said the hair suits me well!

As far as the falling out stage. It's easier to take control of it yourself and have someone help you shave your head. I found it less upsetting to do myself than have it fall out in my hands. I actually had a party doing it and we mohawked it first and took pictures. My teenagers helped.

Sharon

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Feb 5, 2008 03:54PM dkmaustx wrote:

I thought my hair would be grayer than it turned out to be. That "chemo fuzz" that I had just after I finished chemo in July was nearly all white. I did a buzz cut with the clippers to even it all out. Now that my hair has been growing out for a few months, I think it's the same color it would have been if I hadn't dyed it before. As someone else said, I can't be positive.

I've also been doing the spiky thing with gel. It isn't working quite as well as it did at first, but it's still ok. I won't have to worry about the hair falling into my eyes for several more months.

I was surprised by how soft my hair is now. It was always fine and straight, and it still is except with a slight wave in the back. I so much wanted curly hair for a change, but I'll take what I have. As several of you said at least it's hair.

PS - My little avatar pic was taken in mid Nov, so I have a bit more hair now.

Debbie M

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Feb 5, 2008 08:14PM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

Star,

If your hair isn't short, get it cut fast. It is much easier if it is short when it falls out.  I remember seeing a woman on the other side of chemo with 1" long hair thinking I wish I were on that side. Now I am.  You will get here too even though it sometimes seems as if you won't.  I cut my chin length hair to about an inch before it really started to fall out and I am glad that I did. I never did buzz it cause I had a little fringe in the back which came in handy sometimes under hats.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences. As I said any hair is better than none at this point, but I am still kind of shocked when I look in the mirror. Saw a friend today I hadn't seen in a bit and she really didn't recognize me at first ! 

Joanne 

Joanne_elizabeth

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Feb 5, 2008 08:20PM LauraGTO wrote:

Try not to think of it as "gray hair"... It's really more of a pencil lead gray color! I dyed my hair 1 month after it started growing and had no problems! I just washed that pencil gray outta my hair! Best wishes to you!

With hope there are possibilities.

Dx 7/2005, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 5, 2008 08:26PM Harley44 wrote:

I for one KNOW that my hair was NEVER THIS GRAY!!  But, as you say, at least I have hair! 

I don't dare do anything with chemicals... I'm SO afraid of cancer!!  So, even though my onc said it is ok to color my hair, I think I'll wait, and IF I do, I'll try some mild, natural haircolor.

Harley

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Feb 6, 2008 07:01AM ravdeb wrote:

I am 53 now. I had been dying my hair its natural black since I was 33. I was premature gray..not white. Gray and a lot of it but not totally gray. My hair grew in white like the snow. I've had hair since March 2006 and so my texture is back but I've decided not to color it. People stop me on the street to complement me on my hair! THAT never happened when I dyed it!!!!

My 18 year old son has that natural black hair that I had at that age and his is twinkling with silver all over it. Guess he's next.

My grandmother was premature gray and had snow white hair. Thanks, Granny!

IDC, 2cm, triple negative, grade 3, node neg

Dx 9/5/2005, IDC, 2cm, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2008 07:45AM LottaQuilts wrote:

Regarding the waiting 6 months to color thing, I asked my onc. about this.  She said it isn't a "worry about the chemicals causing cancer" thing it's because the hair is fragile and easily damaged.  She said as long as I went to a professional who understood that it was like dying baby hair, I'd be fine.  She just didn't want me using that nastly grocery store stuff.

Abbi

dx 3/15/07, lump. 5/15, 1.4 cm; ER+; 1 of 3 nodes+; A/Cx4; Taxol x12; 3rd gen survivor but BRCA neg (go figure)

Dx 4/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2008 07:51AM snowyday wrote:

Yup, mine is growing in white and a really dark brown, I always had more of an auburn colour so my sis is going to fix it. I wanted to do it last weekend but chickened out because I think it's still to short and didn't want a stained scalp. So my sister (hairdresser) will do it in a month, but I really like the really short hair look, surprisingly. I might even keep it.pearl49 But I mean really short.

PN

Dx 5/24/2007, ILC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Feb 6, 2008 11:54AM abbadoodles wrote:

FWIW, when I asked my onc about coloring my hair right away, she said "go ahead."  I do believe some people have to be careful about fragile hair, though.  You know who you are.

Tina

Tina

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Feb 6, 2008 04:35PM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

Hi everyone,

The onc today said she does not think chemo causes gray hair.  She thinks the stress of breast cancer could have made my hair more gray. Interesting. At any rate, I'll take the hair, gray or not!

Joanne 

Joanne_elizabeth

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Feb 6, 2008 04:42PM, edited Feb 6, 2008 07:29PM by Harley44

This Post was deleted by Harley44.
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Feb 6, 2008 07:51PM, edited Feb 6, 2008 07:52PM by Curlylocks

Just to add to this conversation.  Your hair will probably come in all grey to start off with as it has no pigment as the chemo drugs damage it.  I was 41 when diagnosed with bc 2 1/2 years ago and had been highlighting my hair for years so didnt really know what my natural colour was....

Once the hair started growing more, it started coming in really dark brown which was my natural colour.  I ended up putting in a gentle rinse with no harsh chemicals in it just to even out the colour about 2 months post chemo.  My hair is still now very dark and of course the greys are mixed in but happy to have hair.LOL.

Michele 

Dx 10/23/2005, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 1, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 11/09/2005 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 12/05/2005 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy 05/01/2006 ArimidexRadiation Therapy 06/01/2006 ExternalSurgery 05/03/2008 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Surgery 12/16/2013 Prophylactic Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Chemotherapy 02/11/2014 Cytoxan, Taxotere
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Feb 6, 2008 07:52PM lionessdoe wrote:

I'm 54 and got my head shaved before chemo. I had a skunk line of dark hair from the top of my head down to the back of my neck. The rest was grey.

My hair is finally growing back and it is all gray. No more dark streak.

I am so tired of professionals blaming everything on stress!

Chemo did a lot of permanent damage to my heart, my veins, and my brain.

I don't have a hard time at all believing it is responsible for the color of my new hair, nor the texture.

Chemo is powerful stuff!

Doe

Dx 9/5/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 4/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2008 09:45PM Harley44 wrote:

Michele,


Hmm... How long did it take for your hair to have color???  Because my hair has come in since my last chemo tx in October, and it is BLACK & GRAY!!!  I NEVER had black hair before, so I am wondering if it will ever turn brown?

Harley

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Feb 7, 2008 07:52AM LottaQuilts wrote:

So now I have very short reddish-brown curly hair.  The color took really nice.  She just used a gentle formula that will probably fade/grow out in about a month or so.  But its' sooooo nice to be rid of the grey. 

Just a couple more inches of hair would be nice, though.... keep growing, hair... keep growing!

Looking back at Christmas pics (when I first went "topless") it's amazing how much it has grown already.  By summertime, I might look "normal" again.

Abbi

dx 3/15/07, lump. 5/15, 1.4 cm; ER+; 1 of 3 nodes+; A/Cx4; Taxol x12; 3rd gen survivor but BRCA neg (go figure)

Dx 4/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 7, 2008 08:59AM figsgirls wrote:

I'm 43 and mine is growing in as gray as can be! It was sort of a dark blonde before. I know I had some gray, but not this much!! Yikes! And I was hoping for some chemo curl - I wanted curly hair for once. But no such luck. It's growing in straight as it ever was.

Glad to hear we can go ahead and color whenever we want. I'm about 10 weeks post-chemo and was hoping to get my hair colored before leaving for vacation in two weeks.

And Star, I agree - shaving your head before your hair falls out makes it a lot less traumatic and gives you at least the illusion of control over some part of it all. My husband shaved mine to a buzz cut, then when that started to fall out, we used my leg razor to shave it bald.

Donna

Diag. 4/11/07 ILC 4.3cm 1/14 nodes ER+/PR+ Her2-. Lump., bilat.mast. 4AC 12 Taxol, Tamox. Implant recon.

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Feb 7, 2008 09:22AM Curlylocks wrote:

Harley44,

The colour change is over the course of several months.....my hair is now a dark, dark brown.

Michele 

Dx 10/23/2005, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 1, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 11/09/2005 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 12/05/2005 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy 05/01/2006 ArimidexRadiation Therapy 06/01/2006 ExternalSurgery 05/03/2008 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Surgery 12/16/2013 Prophylactic Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Chemotherapy 02/11/2014 Cytoxan, Taxotere
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Feb 7, 2008 09:36AM Harley44 wrote:

Abbi,

Congratulations on your new hair color!  I want to be reddish brown, too!  But, I still have a couple of months before I can color it...  Just want to be safe...

I hope my hair grows as fast as yours did!

Harley

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