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All TopicsForum: HER2+ (Positive) Breast Cancer → Topic: Herceptin & hair growth

Topic: Herceptin & hair growth

Forum: HER2+ (Positive) Breast Cancer —

Testing, treatment, side effects, and more.

Posted on: Mar 2, 2007 08:02PM

mccarroll wrote:

I'm just curious about other warriors experience with herceptin. Has anyone felt like herceptin slows our hair growth? I see great pictures of women 3 - 4 months out of tx and their hair is long enough to style. I'm almost 4 months out and mine is 1 inch long. I remember having to dye my hair every six weeks to avoid the skunk look so it was growing at least 1/2" a month bc.

I guess I just want to know if I have company and is this normal? I really am thrilled to have hair again and am ashamed that I still want more!!!!

Take care and thanks for your help, Karen Log in to post a reply

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Mar 2, 2007 09:14PM Denny123 wrote:

I have had Herceptin for over 3 years and my hair is growing normally. When I had Gemzar with the Herceptin, my hair did thin out. But after I was done with Gemzar, and on Herceptin alone, it started to grow back normally.
Are you eating a good diet and exercising?
Dx 12/14/2002, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/40 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Hormonal Therapy 07/05/2011 Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant, class: estrogen receptor downregulator (ERD)) Surgery 02/20/2003 Mastectomy of one or both breasts: Mastectomy of my left breast, Mastectomy of my right breast; Lymph node removal (also called dissection): Lymph node removal (also called dissection) on my left side , Lymph node removal (also called dissection) on my right side ; Reconstruction of my left breast: Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction of my right breast: Latissimus dorsi flap Targeted Therapy 01/23/2004 Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 10/10/2003 Chemotherapy 04/01/2003 Adriamycin (chemical name: doxorubicin), Cytoxan (chemical name: cyclophosphamide), Gemzar (chemical name: gemcitabine), Taxotere (chemical name: docetaxel)
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Mar 2, 2007 10:09PM deem wrote:


I have been on herception for 5 years and I have talked to many women about this. Yes, it does slow down your hair growth and my hair is not as thick either. However, Denny is right and good diet and exercise will help!
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Mar 2, 2007 11:46PM mccarroll wrote:

Does chocolate count as a diet??? LOL I've been watching my weight since finishing up Taxol in November. Still have 10 pounds around the middle that I would like to get off and now that spring is here in Texas, we'll start walking at night again. I'm not inactive tho. I am doing more and more each week. I also take lots of vitamins and herbs, but not much different than before dx.

We'll see how it goes, Karen
Put on your big girl panties and deal with it! Dx 5/9/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 4/20 nodes, ER-, HER2+
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Mar 3, 2007 01:33AM Margerie wrote:

My hair is growing a little slower than usual (even on my legs!) but my chief complaint is my fingernails are crappy- weak and peeling. They used to be very smooth and strong. Toe nails are fine. Oh well, only 10 more months to go! (It is either the herceptin or the arimidex)

Are we there yet? Dx 10/4/2005, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 5/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 3, 2007 11:02AM Annaanne wrote:

I'm sure my hair grew slower when I was on herceptin -- I'd say half as fast as normal. When I finished my year, it started growing normally again (although very curly!) Since I color my hair, it's easy to tell -- and my hairdresser agrees!
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Mar 5, 2007 02:00AM jennid1 wrote:

I have to agree hair and finger nails have taken a beating. I assume it's all the drugs.I'll be on some hormone for the next 4 years but I look forward to getting off the herceptin in May.
I have to say my short hair makes for speedy morning routine!
Dx 11/17/2005, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 26, 2007 05:00PM anisah60 wrote:

I have found my hair growth has slowed while on Herceptin. It grew back (after AC and Taxol) very curly, and I am nearly used to the everlasting bad hair day. Can't do a thing with it! But I am very glad it is back.

Anne in SA
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Apr 29, 2007 02:57AM jo50 wrote:

Definitely slowed my hair growth - I saw an almost visible speed up when I finished Herceptin and once I was past the half life time for the drug. My nails were in bad shape during the treatment - peeling and very weak. That too improved, altho they seem to be dipping back into a fragile state now for some reason. Still and all, I'd take the slow hair growth happily if I ever have to take Herceptin again. Jo

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May 2, 2007 06:22PM Lakonia wrote:

Hi Mccarroll
I've been reading this thread with interest as I've just finished chemo and will be starting Herceptin soon (plus Tamoxifen so I don't hold out much hope for my hair !).

I seem to remember seeing on a previous thread that you were using Nioxin. do you think it made any difference?

also how long after finishing chemo did you start your Herceptin?

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May 2, 2007 10:49PM mccarroll wrote:

I don't think the Nioxin helps me. Some of the ladies see a big difference. There are also some positive postings about a Jan Marini (???) product.

I started herceptin with Taxol in october. I took weekly infusions of herceptin (and bi weekly Taxol 4 times) for 12 weeks. Then I started on the 3 week regieme for a year. I'll be finished by October!!! Yea!. I hear that hair grows normally after we finish everything. I'm 6 months out of "poison" chemo and my hair is only 2" long. But it is hair!

Take care, Karen
Put on your big girl panties and deal with it! Dx 5/9/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 4/20 nodes, ER-, HER2+
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May 2, 2007 11:32PM Lakonia wrote:

Many thanks for your reply Karen
Take care
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May 15, 2007 11:07AM josied0 wrote:

I had 4 a/c and 4taxotere/h with herceptin continued for a year June 4th I should be finished and I agree it seems to slow hair growth I feel like 2 weeks after hercptin my eyebrows have thinned a bit again etc.....

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May 16, 2007 12:11AM , edited Mar 12, 2008 03:33AM by BethNY

I absolutely think herceptin slows hair growth. When I finished it almost a year ago- my hair growth took off. It is now a little past my shoulders. I used nioxin and everything else, but I swear, that within weeks of finishing herceptin I noticed a huge difference.
Herceptin also gave me acne, and that went away too...
Be your own hero
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May 18, 2007 12:17AM LittleFlower wrote:

I too have noticed my hair growth is slower with the herceptin. Also my nails have seen better days, they crack and look weak. I've noticed other ladies 4 months out from 'chemo' have hair that can be styled... not mine! It's nice to know that others have experienced this slowed hair growth, i'll stop watching so closely now. It's like the watched pot that never boils.. the watched hair never grows
Dx 6/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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May 18, 2007 09:06PM mccarroll wrote:

Little Flower, Be careful with the stylist. I went to my stylist for the first time since we cut my hair off short, right before surgery. It's about 2" long and she was sure I should "spike" my hair and walk around with attitude. My youngest son was with me and after the styling, he hugged Debbie (who has done my hair for 30 years) and said "That is NOT a happy Mom's face". I left it spiked until DH got home ... he deserved a good laugh. But at least I had attitude!

Curling Irons ARE in our future! Karen
Put on your big girl panties and deal with it! Dx 5/9/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 4/20 nodes, ER-, HER2+
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May 19, 2007 01:46AM , edited Mar 12, 2008 03:37AM by BethNY

for all you gals going thru that SHORT HAIR ISN'T CUTE phase...
I used to take a flat iron, and even with a few inches of hair try to style it.
The hard part is that you have to go thru that awkward phase, and just do the best you can with it.
It will be over befoer you know it.
I remember the first day I got my hair into a pony tail holder. I think I even posted here about it... lol
Now that my hair is long, I DREAD the fact that I have to go get it trimmed... actually at the POSH saolns in NYC-- we use the term dusting. less than a trim-
I just get nervous- you know how scissor happy those stylists can get.

Just hang in there... I'll send you all pony tail holders when youre ready.
Be your own hero
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May 22, 2007 12:32AM mccarroll wrote:

I'm ready for the pony tail holder ... it's just my hair that isn't. Maybe by the time we take that famous road trip ... was it in 2010????

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it! Dx 5/9/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 4/20 nodes, ER-, HER2+
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May 22, 2007 01:12AM bonny1963 wrote:

I am 3 months out from chemo and my hair is about 1/4 long on top. The back is a little longer. I am ready to get rid of the hats but my scalp is still showing so I can't get rid of them yet. But we weill get there,slow as it is. And yesm I am also on Herceptin.

Bonny -With God, all things are possible. Dx 9/12/2006, DCIS, 2cm, Stage II, 2/10 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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May 29, 2007 12:44AM dginoregon wrote:

hi there, I took comfort in reading your posts re the slow hair growth while taking Herceptin. I've had 8 of my 18 infusions so far ... hair is approaching 1.5 inches, but ooohhh so sloooowww! Fingernails have become so pitifully thin and brittle (sigh) ... Not unthankful, just lamenting :-)

My last DD A/C was 12/4/06, and first Herceptin 12/14/06. My hair used to have a soft curl which manifested as "body" when short, but now it is poodley curly. My Honey likes to stroke it on top :-) I would actually like it if it stayed this curly, but it might not, if I interpret other's experiences correctly.

I like the way the curls highlight the silver/gunmetal color. There seems to be quite more silver than before, and at 63 I'm okay with that.

The sun is shining out there, and i need to get going ... nice chatting with you!
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May 29, 2007 11:35PM AMKeil wrote:

I'm new to the forums but wanted to add my two cents. I've been doing herceptin alone since the second week of January. I actually started seeing some growth just before my last taxol/herceptin treatment on 12/29. I have been frustrated at the rate of hair growth but have attributed it to the fact that I lost a lot of follicles during the process. While my hair is still very, very short, it does seem to be thicker now than it was 2 or 3 months ago. I can't wait to leave the ball caps at home so I no longer get called "sir" when I'm out.

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May 13, 2008 10:23AM twinsmom0606 wrote:


Can anyone comment more on hair growth and herceptin?  I've seen the comments thus far, but nothing from 2008 is posted.  I completed TAC in 9/07 and am doing weekly herceptin; my last dose is in about 5 weeks.  My hair is 3" long, but, before cancer, my hair grew like a weed.  Could slower hair growth be due to induced menopause?  I'm taking femara, and, am in my late 40s.



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May 13, 2008 11:00AM Caya wrote:

Hey Diane,

I just finished my last Herceptin on May 8th - every 3 weeks for a year after 3 x FEC, 3 x Taxotere.  I am positive the Herceptin slowed my hair growth - I have heard this from other women who have been on Herceptin.  Mine also used to grow like a weed, and was thicker before cancer and the treatments.  However, my hair was very curly and more grey before BC, growing in much straighter and salt and pepper - more pepper than salt, so I am not doing any colour.  I finished chemo in May 2007 and had my first "trim" in late March 2008 - my avatar is me with this haircut.

My nails have been very bad as well, but they were never that great.

Dx 10/16/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 13, 2008 11:27PM BethNY wrote:

I'm laughing so much- looking back at this thread and reading my posts from over a year ago...

I stand firmly on what I said then-- that Herceptin definitely slowed my hair growth.

KAREN- (mccarrol) if you're out there reading this-- I forgot all about our 2010 trip!!! OMG-- I wish we could find that thread.  That would really make my heart warm.  We had so much fun planning that trip.

Be your own hero
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May 16, 2008 05:51AM twinsmom0606 wrote:

Hi Caya

Thanks.  Did you finish herceptin this May 8, 2008?  I'm wondering because if you have in fact just completed herceptin treatment , it would be interesting to note when/if you find that being off herceptin means that your hair in fact is growing more rapidly.  You look good anyway!


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May 18, 2008 12:04AM Caya wrote:

Thanks Diane,

Yes I just completed Herceptin on May 8, 2008.  I am going to keep an eye on my hair growth to see when it really  "kicks in" with faster growth. It's been 3 months since my first post-chemo haircut and I am going for another trim today.  People have told me you have to be a month or two out so the Herceptin has really dissipated to notice a more rapid growth.  I'll watch carefully and report back.

Dx 10/16/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 23, 2008 01:35AM rickeydoes wrote:

Hi Girls, I usually just read and learn but, I just had to put my 2 cents in. I finished chemo 1-2-08 MY hair very fine peach fuzz. Then was put on Herceptin which I get every 3 wks. Herceptin was started 3wks out from the chemo. That was 1-23-08. Well by 3-18-08 I needed a hair cut believe it or not. Pre bc my hair was short,straight,brown. Now very thick only curly on the sides and back, flat on the top or straight you might say. Now if you can picture this head of hair I now have I am glad I have a sense of humor because I can't do a thing with it. And all people say to me is at least it grew back. Oh I forgot to mention 65% gray now. I read somewhere don't color your hair until you've been off chemo for 6 mths. But, I don' t know if that is true for Herceptin. So that is my take with herceptin and hair. Sue

Dx 8/31/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 1/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 24, 2008 05:00AM , edited May 24, 2008 05:01AM by oldcat46

Wow, I'm glad I stopped at this thread 'cause my chemo ended Feb. 13 and today I have about a half-inch hair growth.   It's brown    and straight just like my hair was but definitely slow-growing.  My friends think it's growing so fast, but I can't agree.  It's ok though -- I love it and have started going out without the dreaded hats.  In Texas our weather is hot and humid now, so hats aren't comfortable at all.  Some people stare but others ask me about the cancer and I'm happy to tell them.  Everyone knows someone with some kind of cancer.  I don't mind the lookers.  I now have more hair on my head than my husband.   Herceptin does seem to slow things down. Unfortunately, the hair on my legs has come in like gang-busters -- figures.
Mary Dx 8/27/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 1, 2008 12:27PM twinsmom0606 wrote:

Hi Everyone,

For whatever this is worth, I completed chemo during the 2nd week of 09/07.  I've got 5 more weeks of herceptin to go.  Everyone tells me that my hair growth is good - it's a little over 4 inches, and, I had a trim about a month ago.  I suppose that is not bad, BUT, my hair grew much faster before.  So, it will be interesting to see how it grows after completing the herceptin.


Stage II, IDC, 2/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, Her2-neu +

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Jun 1, 2008 12:27PM , edited Jun 3, 2008 08:12AM by twinsmom0606

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Jun 1, 2008 12:27PM , edited Jun 2, 2008 11:26AM by twinsmom0606

This Post was deleted by twinsmom0606.