Abraxane and Hair Loss
There are many possible side effects that may occur with Abraxane, and hair loss appears to be the most common. Since chemotherapy affects all fast-growing cells throughout the body, it may kill normal cells (such as hair cells) as well as cancerous cells. Hair loss generally begins to be noticeable within three to four weeks of starting Abraxane. Hair loss is usually temporarily; your hair will most likely return to normal within two or three months after stopping chemotherapy.
Hair loss is the most common side effect of Abraxane® (protein-bound paclitaxel). In one clinical study, hair loss was reported in up to 90 percent of people who took Abraxane. This is because chemotherapy affects all fast-growing cells throughout the body. Therefore, in addition to killing cancer cells, it also kills fast-growing normal cells. With some chemotherapy medications, such as Abraxane, this can include hair cells.
Usually, hair loss begins to be noticeable within three to four weeks after starting Abraxane. When hair loss does occur, the hair may become thinner or fall out entirely. Hair loss can occur on all parts of the body, including the head, face, arms and legs, underarms, and pubic area. After you stop chemotherapy, your hair will most likely return to normal within two or three months.
Given how commonly hair loss occurs in people taking Abraxane, it may be a good idea to expect and plan for hair loss. You may choose to wear wigs or other head coverings, or you may decide to leave your head uncovered. Also, feeling angry or sad is common and perfectly all right.
If you are concerned about hair loss, be sure to discuss your expectations and wishes with your healthcare provider. Talking about your feelings can help. You may also find it helpful to share your thoughts with someone who has had a similar experience.
(Click Chemotherapy and Hair Loss for suggestions on what to do if hair loss occurs, along with more information on treating your scalp and hair during chemotherapy.)