Hair loss caused by chemotherapy is almost always temporary.
However, there is evidence that some chemotherapy drugs may result in long-lasting or permanent hair loss. Permanent hair loss is described as incomplete regrowth of hair six months or more after completing treatment.
Although uncommon, taxane drugs such as docetaxel may cause long-lasting or permanent hair loss. There is some limited evidence to suggest that paclitaxel may also cause long-lasting hair loss.
Hair loss is common in both people with cancer and in the general population. This can make it difficult to be sure whether problems with hair regrowth are due to treatment, genetics or other factors such as extreme stress or medical conditions. It could be down to a combination of these things.
After radiotherapy, any hair that you have lost from the treated area will usually grow back. However, the hair may grow back thinner, patchy, or may not grow back at all. This will depend on the dose of radiotherapy and the number of treatments you’ve had. Your treatment team will be able to let you know how likely this is to happen.
Some people continue taking hormone therapy for up to ten years, which may cause hair loss and hair thinning. Once you finish this treatment your hair should return to how it was before treatment. However, this may take time and for some people hair may not fully return to the same thickness.
It’s important to talk through any concerns you may have about hair loss with your treatment team when making decisions about treatment.