Hair Loss During a Cancer Journey
- Amanda Kuhl, the 30-year-old wife of famous baseball player Chad Kuhl, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer after tests during an appointment with her doctor to discuss family planning.
- Amanda is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Most recently, she shared an emotional video of Chad lovingly cutting off her hair ahead of anticipated chemo-related hair loss.
- Hair loss is an emotional journey for many cancer survivors. Chemotherapy and radiation can both cause hair loss or thinning, but both treatment options usually don’t cause permanent hair loss.
- One of our experts recommends talking to others who’ve been in a similar situation if you’re struggling with hair loss.
Chad and Amanda Kuhl have been the apple of each other’s eyes since childhood. So, it should come as no surprise the two are tackling her cancer as a team.Read More
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Amanda and Chad Kuhl Tackle Cancer
Amanda Kuhl was diagnosed with breast cancer in late January after visiting her doctor to talk about family planning. The former Miss Delaware already has a 2-year-old son with Chad Kuhl, but the lovebirds were hoping to give Hudson another sibling when a routine exam threw a wrench in their plans.
“All of this for me started because we were talking about expanding our family to begin with,” Amanda said. “That’s why I went to my doctor — we were planning for baby number two this season. That’s why my doctor did my annual visit when she did. During that annual visit is when she found the lump.”
Can I Have A Baby After Breast Cancer?
For treatment, she’s already undergone a double mastectomy and lymph node removal. She’s now underway with chemotherapy and plans to have radiation later down the line.
Unfortunately, chemo is expected to cause hair loss. That’s why she called on Chad to cut it all off before it started to fall out on its own. She recently shared an emotional video of the whole process. With tears in her eyes, Amanda bravely showcases how much of an emotional toll cancer-related hair loss can have.
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“My impulse control is out of control. Also if anyone needs a hair cut, I guess I can recommend @chad_kuhl for all your barber needs,” she wrote in her caption. “I figured this was better for my mental health than seeing my hair come out in clumps with every comb/brush.”
“If you see me in a wig, hat, scarf, whatever, just mind ya business (or just complement Chad’s work). Also also, pls enjoy our elevator music. And thank you to @tinyturnip for these amazing Breast Cancer Awareness shirts 💕 #CancerIsntKuhl.”
In sharing her story to social media, Amanda hopes to raise crucial awareness for breast cancer, encourage others to perform breast self-exams and show people what it’s like to face the disease. Maybe her journey can even inspire another cancer warrior to carry on when times get tough.
“It was important to me, first of all, so people knew to do their self testing, because I wasn’t,” Amanda has said of her transparency.
“But other than that, I just wanted to share what a 30-year-old going through chemo is. That involves, if you want to continue expanding your family in the future, some type of preservation, including egg preservation, fertility treatments, whatever have you. I’m also doing ovarian suppression during my chemo. … Obviously, expanding our family has to wait until I’m done and my doctor gives me the all clear, but that’s what all this started from was baby number two.”
Coping With Hair Loss
Hair loss or thinning can be an effect of some cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. That’s why some people, like Chad Kuhl’s wife, try to get ahead of the hair loss before it progresses by shaving their heads.
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When it comes to chemotherapy-related hair loss, cancer patients generally see the process begin about three to four weeks after starting chemotherapy. Hair loss will then continue throughout treatment, but it’s generally temporary.
People can expect regrowth around four to six weeks after treatment has ended, but the color and texture of their hair might be different when it grows back.
Coping With Hair Loss
The Mayo Clinic says there are currently no treatments out there that guarantee your hair won’t fall out during or after chemotherapy. Even still, some treatments like the following may help:
- Scalp cooling caps
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)
Radiation-related hair loss can occur if hair is in the path of radiation for a tumor being treated like in the case of a brain tumor, for example.
“If you do lose hair, it will regrow several weeks — or months — after treatment,” radiation oncologist Dr. James Taylor told SurvivorNet. “Fortunately, for most patients, hair loss is not a concern when having radiation therapy.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, hair loss caused by radiation will often grow back 3 to 6 months following the end of treatment, but a very high dose of radiation may cause your hair to grow back thinner or not at all.
Thankfully, cancer warriors have many options to explore if hair loss will cause a lot of distress. From wigs, to wraps, to hats, to scarves, there’s no shortage of creative ways to cope with hair loss if rocking a bald head is not for you. Make sure to talk with your doctors about resources and potential treatments to mitigate the loss whenever you feel the need.
Making Peace With Hair Loss – Stephanie Hess Shares Her Ovarian Cancer Story
And, above all else, know you’re not alone. Ovarian cancer survivor Stephanie Hess previously spoke with SurvivorNet about coping with her hair loss and how her family made all the difference. After she shaved her own head, she saw many of her loved ones doing the same in solidarity.
“My cute 7-year-old son shaved his head about two weeks after I shaved my head,” she said. “I had a nephew that was living in Las Vegas at the time, and he had shaved his head for me.”
Two of her nieces also decided to shave their heads to show their support. Needless to say, all the selfless acts really hit home for Hess.
“I hadn’t asked them to. I had no idea,” she said. “I got a text with their shaved heads and I just cried and cried because it was so freeing.”
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Hess recommends others dealing with hair loss explore support groups. And Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, saying seeking support from others who’ve been in similar situations can be immensely helpful.
“The dread of losing one’s hair can lead to sort of sleepless nights and you know, a feeling of anxiety,” Dr. Boardman said. “Talk to people who have been through it, get their advice, voice your concerns to your caregiver and see what they can do.”
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