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Keeping our Hair Healthy while taking anti hormonals

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  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    I went to a hair store, called U Top and they had clip in extensions that matched my hair. I had pretty good hair to cover the clips with. There are all types of extensions. There are some that sit on the crown and are clipped in. Then, there are overall extensions that have clips....you layer those into your own hair. Some people even had extensions glued in or beaded in......which are more permanent. I have fairly long hair, so I did not want permanent extensions. The permanent can be washed and combed, just like your regular hair. It is winter, at least where I live, and I wear hats, and have custom snoods, hoods, made for protecting my hair and face from dry air. Alot of winter apparel does not come with hoods anymore. If things get really bad, a wig might be an alternative. On a bad hair day, my fake ponytail comes in very handy.

    Miranda, you started coming here in 13, but were diagnosed in 17. Was your doctor watching you that entire time? Is there a reason that you could not take Tamoxifen? I find it a fairly easy medication to take, without alot of hair loss. For some reason, my hair regrew about a year after I finished radiation. I stopped thinking about it. The stress of the surgery can make your body have a stress response. One of the responses, is hair loss. When I took the CPA exam, my hair fell out; when I broke up with my boyfriend (back in the day), my hair fell out; when under great emotional stress, my hair falls out.

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207
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    Thanks for the info, Michelle. The clip-in extensions sound interesting.

    I started coming here when I was worried about a mammogram callback. I was given the "all clear" on that one, but according to my current breast surgeon, my main tumor was visible even then. I had years where I skipped mammos -- to my great regret -- for dumb reasons including my deep fear. My sister died in 2000 of BC at age 42, and it just terrified me that I could be next. Maybe if I had been diagnosed earlier (my fault and that of my earlier, crappier providers), I could have avoided the mastectomy. But I am not focusing on past regrets. Right now, I am doing well.

    Tamoxifen was not in question because I was post-menopausal when I was diagnosed (56). I could opt for tamoxifen, for slightly lower effectiveness, if the AIs prove intolerable. The hair loss I have attributed to anastrazole, and now letrozole. I'm not really seeing hair all over, but it feels thinner and less weighty than it used to. Some of this could be from radiation and two surgeries this year. I'm trying not to panic about the hair, but it has always been a "trigger" for me, since my sister's cancer/chemo/death.

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207
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    Thanks for the info, Michelle. The clip-in extensions sound interesting.

    I started coming here when I was worried about a mammogram callback. I was given the "all clear" on that one, but according to my current breast surgeon, my main tumor was visible even then. I had years where I skipped mammos -- to my great regret -- for dumb reasons including my deep fear. My sister died in 2000 of BC at age 42, and it just terrified me that I could be next. Maybe if I had been diagnosed earlier (my fault and that of my earlier, crappier providers), I could have avoided the mastectomy. But I am not focusing on past regrets. Right now, I am doing well.

    Tamoxifen was not in question because I was post-menopausal when I was diagnosed (56). I could opt for tamoxifen, for slightly lower effectiveness, if the AIs prove intolerable. The hair loss I have attributed to anastrazole, and now letrozole. I'm not really seeing hair all over, but it feels thinner and less weighty than it used to. Some of this could be from radiation and two surgeries this year. I'm trying not to panic about the hair, but it has always been a "trigger" for me, since my sister's cancer/chemo/death.

  • Icietla
    Icietla Member Posts: 321
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    Michelle, ChiSandy, and any others who may be in the Chernozem regions or other areas used in maize production -- Here is a worthwhile read.

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/79/topics/864448?page=1#post_5201964

  • Stillme54
    Stillme54 Member Posts: 12
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    Finally got a haircut, yesterday. I think the hair, skin, and nails is helping my new growth, anyway. Breakage is a lot less, now. I had it professionally highlighted in November and will do it again in March. It’s getting a lot better! image

  • Rwns
    Rwns Member Posts: 103
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    Stillme-wow, what a pretty cut and color! Yay for you! Thx for sharing!

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Very nice picture. It is so important to feel good about ourselves, as we recover from diagnosis, radiation, chemo, and anti hormonal therapy. My hair finally came back in after radiation, but it took two years to resolve. I had been experimenting with all kinds of products and finally settled on Monat, which I am now representing. My daughter signed me up and I am actually excited about the products. If anyone has questions, you can message me

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207
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    Michelle, I don't hear much about the effects of radiation on hair.

    I had 30 rounds of radiation last Feb/March. Most of the hair loss that I am dealing with is around the part -- it's wider, lots of visible scalp. I've been blaming the letrozole, but who knows what effects anesthesia and radiation have also had (I had two surgeries last year, UMX and reconstruction revision). My husband thinks the hair thinning preceded my diagnosis (I'm 57), so I really have a hard time assessing cause and effect.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Miranda, my surgery was in August 2016, radiation began in October 2016 and ended in early November. My hair came out by the handfuls and I could not sleep. All through December 2016, my hair was shedding alot. January 2017, I had a hysterectomy and oopherectomy. My part got wider as well. Late 2017, my hair was thin, my part and the rim of the hairline all around had thinned. My hair grew back in 2018, when I used certain products on my hair. I wash my hair one time per week, blow it dry with a hair dryer and sometimes use a round brush hair dryer. My hair does not get sweaty or dirty, unless it is 100 degrees in the summer and then I wear my hair up. If you pull your hair into a ponytail, don't. That constant pulling can affect hair loss. I think the AI's are a little harder on the hair and bones. What was your hair like before all of this started? Could you upload a before and after pic of the part? When did you notice hair loss?

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207
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    Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

    I didn't notice hair loss until my hairdresser remarked on its reduction in weight and volume (with some shock!) last summer, after my surgery and radiation and just after I started anastrazole (I'm now on letrozole). I was pretty upset, as hair has always been important to me. I have stopped having it cut, stopped coloring it (growing in my silvers) and don't wash it as often. I also was persuaded to try the iRestore laser treatment system after hearing of the success of some of our sisters on the "Thinning Hair" thread on this forum. So far I'm not sure if it's helped much, but it hasn't hurt, and at least makes me feel proactive about my hair. Also take biotin, don't know if that helps either. The added length helps compensate for the thinness at the crown.

    Before, my hair was abundant but fine-textured. It still is, just thinner on top. As I mentioned, my husband noticed some thinning even before my BC experience, but didn't say anything about it (he's nice like that). I might have to hunt a little for a "before" photo that shows the part.I do usually wear a ponytail, because otherwise the hair gets in my face, but I can see where that's not the best thing for the hair.

  • janett2014
    janett2014 Member Posts: 2,950
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    My two cents worth:

    I have been seeing a dermatologist for hair loss/thinning since about a year before my cancer diagnosis. He told me that coloring, blow drying, etc. were fine. The only thing not to do would be tightly pulling on the hair (like tight ponytails of course).

    Here are the over-the-counter things I use daily on his recommendation: Organix brand thick & full, biotin & collagen shampoo as well as their conditioner (both are purple containers); supplements: cinnamon, biotin, fish oil, baby aspirin, Z-Bec vitamins (B complex supplement).

    There are also some prescription items: nightly Rx minoxidil spray, twice weekly Rx shampoo and biotin lotion, daily Rx pill for blood flow. Additionally he gives me scalp injections about every 4-6 months.

    I’m pleased with the results. I also wear my hair fairly short and have for years. I think it helps it look fuller.

    I really recommend that anyone with hair issues sees not just any dermatologist but one who treats patients with hair problems.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Miranda, I know how you feel. I feel very fortunate to have found a solution that does not involve drugs or chemicals. If you want, private message me and I can explain further. I lost the perimeter of my hairline after radiation, and my cowlick area and part line area. It has resolved and looks amazing.

  • TessaW
    TessaW Member Posts: 148
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    products haven't really ever worked for me.

    I straight-up went out and purchased tape in extensions. They are amazing! It's real human hair and the tape lays flat so it's so much better than the microbeads.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    TessaW, you are absolutely correct. I purchased clip in extensions a year ago, and really rocked them for 6 months or so, until my hair started regrowing. I also have a fabulous ponytail from Soho hair. I had tried one on in Vegas, and it was not the right color. I ordered one online and love it. As the saying goes, "fake it, until you make it." The same goes for hair in my book.

  • laguna
    laguna Member Posts: 4
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    Can you tell me more about tape extensions? I have been on Arimidex for 4 1/2 years and the crown has thinned so badly as well as another spot on the side of my head.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Laguna, tape extensions work if you have hair to cover them. Basically, the extensions are taped to your own hair at different layers. I used the clip on version. If you have severe thinning, why don't you consult a dermatologist? If I have bad hair loss, I will get a wig that looks like my best hair style, and rock it. There are clip ins for crowns as well.

  • mellee
    mellee Member Posts: 220
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    While expensive, just thought I'd mention Capillus Laser Caps (https://www.capillus.com/capillus-laser-caps). They have monthly payment plans, and Costco also sells them at a discount.

    My sister used a Capillus cap when her hair fell out from stress during her surgical residency. They work really well to promote hair regrowth.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Saw my stylist yesterday, who could not get over how my hair has recovered from the radiation and hysterectomy. I don't wash my hair, but one time per week in the winter. It does not get sweaty or dirty. The summer is a different story. What a difference a couple of years makes.

  • Pattimills2017
    Pattimills2017 Member Posts: 6
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    My Functional Physician reminded me to use Colagan Peptides. Unflavored in my coffee every morning and my hair is normal again.

  • willa216
    willa216 Member Posts: 162
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    Hi everyone: I'm new on this particular thread. Thanks for your inspiration and hope with all things hair.

    I'm wondering if generally those who have hair loss have it fairly soon after starting Tamox or AIs? I have been on Tamox for 2 years. I became worried about my hair about a year ago. I saw a derm and also my primary care doctor. I had cold capped with chemo and was at that point about a year and a half out. Anyway, neither of them thought I had an issue though my hair was definitely thinner at the temples and not growing properly there. One said I could do Rogaine if worried; the other said there was nothing to worry about and things were likely still stabilizing after chemo and cold capping. They also told me that Tamoxifen effects on hair generally start in the first 6 months - not really later. Has anybody heard this?

    Fast forward 1 year and I have a lot of soreness in the crown/part area and both are wider (or so it seems). My hair is dark and it is making me uncomfortable and unhappy.

    For those who have tried Rogaine is it a huge pain? Is it worth it?

    Has anybody tried the vitamin c, omega 3 and 6 combos that have been mentioned in literature about endocrine induced hair loss? I really do not want to do Rogaine or any other drugs.

    And lastly, for those with thinning hair, does it ever get better or is it just downhill? (crabby today, sorry, I'd like to blame that on the Tamoxifen too :).

    Thanks so much. Love to all.



  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
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    willa216 I too started noticing a lot of hair loss for me around month 7 on tamoxifen. Sore scalp in crown/part and feels like a lot of scalp poking thru. I use a laser therapy device and take biotin. Not sure I want to start Rogaine though. Wish there was an answer.

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    I too experienced this about three months in on Anastrozole. I was taken off Ais for a few weeks and have been on Exemestane for three months, starting biotin two months ago. There has a beenA big improvement to the degree that my stylist thinks I have nothing to worry about. Not sure if it is the different Ai or the biotin, but my relief is huge!

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    My hair loss came after radiation and progressed through the first year of Tamoxifen. I started trying new shampoos and continued to eat a very healthy diet. I use Monat hair products and am so impressed by them. My hair healed itself and during the process, I used clip in hair extensions. You have to keep your confidence up, even if your hair is less than full. I learned that stressing out about my hair, just made it worse.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946
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    Willa216, I've been taking Omega 3-6-9 for years (recommended by my eye doctor when my eyes were getting dry). It didn't do a thing to keep my hair from gradually getting much thinner after I had a hysterectomy in 2008. I started biotin in December and I seem to be losing much less hair, but it could also be that the one cancer I had that was growing for years (kidney) may have affected my overall healthy cells without me knowing. It was removed in September, so it's hard to know for sure since I started the biotin only a few months later, after completing radiation.

  • willa216
    willa216 Member Posts: 162
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    Rah, Alice, Michelle and bennybear: Thank you for your responses. I appreciate them. I'm starting biotin again - not sure why I ever stopped - and checking out Monat.

    Rah: how do you feel the the laser device?

    Alice: I'm sorry about your kidney cancer. That is a lot to deal with on top of everything else, I imagine. Hope you're healing well and feeling healthy.

    Best wishes.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
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    Willa I do think the device helped with some regrowth initially. Not sure now since I seem to have entered a new era. But perhaps it is helping and I just don't know it because I have never stopped using it.

  • BadLuck
    BadLuck Member Posts: 81
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    Michele - please tell me the secret to getting my beautiful thick hair back! That Anastrozole effect on my hair is almost as bad as chemo! I also noticed after radiation to my breast that my hair was falling out faster & had to go to the dentist 4 times! My OC & RO both swore that I didn't get radiation exposure above the collarbone. I believe the poison from radiation went all through my system & effected many organs. The biggest side & most common side effects of radiation is fatigue but they have no answer to why. I know exactly why! - because it also effects our heart & lungs that makes us weak & tired & fatigued

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    Bad Luck, if you are having a hard time with Anastrazole, maybe ask to take something else. I think Tamoxifen is more gentle on the body. My hair fell out during and after radiation. I tried alot of things. The first picture and second pics are after one year of Tamoxifen. You can see me using a comb over method in the first pic. The third pic is when I was at my thinnest, like never before. The last pic was taken today, when I was too lazy to do my hair. My hair has recovered, but the final pic has some clip in hair extensions. Rule #1 FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT - get the clip in extensions/ponytails, etc. 2. Keep working with different products to see what is going to work in the long run for your hair. Be confident, although you don't feel that you have your crowning glory. I used Nioxin, Rose Oil Volume Shampoo/Conditioner by Matrix, Living Proof products, graduated to Amica products plus Monat finishing products. Now just use Monat and only wash my hair one time per week.I had used root lifters, mousse, thickening products, when my hair was so thin. I take Vitamins C and D.

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  • BadLuck
    BadLuck Member Posts: 81
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    Michelle - Thanks for the info. So you think I should switch to Tamoxifen? I use Ultrax Labs Hair Surge shampoo. It's one of the most expensive ones for hair loss, but I see no results. I also buy a full in powder like Toppik & Root Touch Up powder to try patching up the bare spots & also try to Only wash it once or twice a week as well. It just keeps on shedding & getting thinner by the day. My radiologist/Oncologist both said that hair thinning & hair loss wasn't even listed as a side effect!!! That's all I here on BC.org is hair thinning & lost from SE's of these drugs. Also I've read it under the SE's listed for these drugs. So don't know why they think they can fool me

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
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    BL, if you are bothered by other side effects, then I would speak with your doctor. Tamoxifen was the best choice for me, because of osteopenia in my hips. But, I have had to work hard and try alot of different products, to get my hair restored. But, FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!!! If I were having major gaps in my hair, I would get a fabulous wig and rock it.