Hair Loss; no chemo: What could be the underlying cause?

Posted by kathleenweidmann @kathleenweidmann, Sep 20 10:29am

Stage 2A colon cancer. 3 months post surgery. No follow up treatment, risks outweigh benefits.

Everytime I brush my hair I get a handful of hair and I’m shedding constantly. Is this normal? If not, any suggestions?

6 months prior to diagnosis & surgery, my hair growth stopped/slowed dramatically and I had significant shedding.

Not as concerned about the hair loss as I am about underlying conditions. What is my body trying to tell me?

Hi @kathleenweidmann, I extended the title of this discussion to be more specific to your question. I also added your question to the Cancer: Managing Symptoms group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/cancer-managing-symptoms/

Kathleen, am I correct in understanding that you have not had chemo or any other treatment besides surgery? There can also be other reasons to lose hair, such as thyroid problems, low iron levels or stress. There's also age-related hair loss too. Yes, for women, usually starting around 50 or 60. Age-related hair loss tends to be from the part line or crown of the head. You said this started before diagnosis, so perhaps it is not cancer related.

Have you talked about possible causes with your doctor or oncologist? They might suggest doing simple blood work to rule of thyroid or iron issues.

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@kathleenweidmann– I would also like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. I lost a very close member of my family and the stress caused me to shed a lot of my hair on my head and in other places too. I'm 74 and this year began to really notice way too much shedding, the same as you. I began to take collagen tablets or powder that I put in my protein drink. Although not all of my hair has grown back most of it has. Also, my nails are stronger too. I suggest that you see a dermatologist and make sure that you don't have any underlying problems. You have had a lot of surgery and that's a huge amount of stress.

Can you ask your oncologist to run some blood work and give you a recommendation for a dermatologist? My hairdresser says that a lot of women shed in the spring and fall. Have you been to a salon lately?

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@kathleenweidmann– Good morning. I just ran across this and thought of you.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/health/coronavirus-hair-loss-telogen-alopecia.html
I'm definitely attributing mine to stress. It's my middle name too- no, only kidding. But it should be. I get that from my Dad. Do you think that this might be the cause for you?

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@kathleenweidmann– Hello. I am wondering how you are doing and if you have received any news form doctors lately?

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