Treatment of chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
Chemotherapy-induced alopecia has been well documented as a cause of distress to patients undergoing cancer treatment. Despite the importance of hair loss to patients, however, patients often receive little more counseling than the advice to purchase a wig or other head covering for the duration of their treatment. Research into non-camouflage (wigs, turbans, and head scarves) treatment methods has been complicated both by a lack of a standardized methodology for evaluating hair loss and hair regrowth and by a lack of human trials. Nevertheless, scalp cooling as a method of preventing hair loss during chemotherapy and 2% topical minoxidil as a therapy for accelerating regrowth after chemotherapy are both effective non-camouflage options for treatment. Other proposed treatments for prevention of hair loss during chemotherapy have demonstrated promise in early trials, but these findings will need validation from rigorous further studies. The increasing number of reports of permanent alopecia not just with pre-bone marrow transplant, high-dose busulfan, and cyclophosphamide regimens but also with standard breast cancer chemotherapy regimens illustrates the importance of further research into treatment methods for chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
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