Robin Roberts on Hair Loss
- Robin Roberts, 61, recently opened up about hair loss and her cancer battle.
- Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and treated it with surgery.
- Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy.
On a recent Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk episode on Apple Watch, Roberts vulnerably shared with listeners about her journey losing her hair due to cancer treatment. She says, “Hair is a daily conversation for women…especially for women of color. We love to talk about our hair and part of going through the treatment for cancer was knowing I was going to lose my hair, my crown!”Read More
“I wanted to be an example of what it’s like to live and work with cancer,” Roberts shares with listeners. “If you’re going through something and you want to wear a wig…do you…DO YOU, no judgment. But we are stronger than we know, and that’s what I learned from my walk with cancer.”
Robin’s Breast Cancer Journey
In 2007, Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she went through her cancer battle publicly, raising awareness around breast cancer in the process. The GMA host also had to have a bone marrow transplant to treat her MDS, which is a rare type of blood cancer.
Roberts discovered her breast cancer at work. She was preparing for a news story about the need for early detection for breast cancer, and she performed a self-check at home. While doing an exam on herself, Roberts discovered a lump. She treated her breast cancer with surgery. Breast cancer can also be treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Women aged 45 to 54 with an average risk of breast cancer should get mammograms annually. Women with an elevated risk of breast cancer – i.e., those with a family history of the disease – should start screening earlier.
Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy commonly lead to hair loss. There some new developments, like cooling caps, which can mitigate the effects of chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Dr. Renata Urban, a Gynecologic Oncologist at the University of Washington, says in an earlier interview, “In regards to the risk of hair loss with Paclitaxel, there is often complete hair loss some. Patients may not lose all of their hair.”
“I think one thing that’s important to know is that if a patient does not lose their hair, it does not mean that the chemotherapy is not effective,” says Dr. Urban. “Some patients may lose all of their hair, and some patients may not.”
Dr. Urban speaks about “cold therapy” and “cooling caps.” She says, “The mechanism of this is that with the cold it can cause vasoconstriction or narrowing of the blood vessels bringing blood to the scalp.”