Men's commonly asked Q&A
This section ‘Men’s room’ is specially to support men with questions around hair loss during cancer treatment. This section covers tips and ideas more suited to males.
This section has been written by Cancer Hair Care Founder & UK’s Leading cancer hair loss expert, Jasmin Julia Gupta.
Jasmin has supported over 5000 people; men, women and children, with their hair care issues, helping them to gain confidence and understanding during cancer treatment. Here she writes with a view of supporting men.
“In terms of supporting men on both an emotional and practical level there are several considerations when getting prepared for hair loss. These range from dealing with how you feel about it, to getting organised with hair loss prevention such as scalp cooling, a haircut, a hat, wig or looking good with a bare scalp.
When I talk with men about their concerns for hair loss during cancer treatment they have told me that they would prefer a shorter guidance section with some key points.
With this in mind this section is the result of input from other men who have experienced hair loss during their treatment and wanted to help create some bespoke support for others. My team of hair loss advisors and I are here to support you. We hope you will find this section helpful” Jasmin Julia Gupta
Helpful tips for men in a Q&A style
- I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and am waiting to find out what treatment I am having, how shall I get ready for hair loss?
The section below relates to chemotherapy-induced alopecia:
- I’ve been told that my chemotherapy treatment will cause hair loss, when will my hair fall out?
- Will my facial hair also fall out?
- Will my hair grow back after treatment?
- How long will it take my new hair to grow?
- Are men able to get support towards the cost of a wig?
- Should I cut my hair before it falls out?
- I don’t want people to know about my cancer treatment but hair loss will reveal this. Any tips of how I can keep this private?
- Is scalp cooling for men as well as women?
- Where can I get more information about hair loss and related ideas?
“I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and am waiting to find out what treatment I am having, how shall I get ready for hair loss?”
In terms of hair loss it’s really important to know that not all treatments for cancer cause hair loss as a side effect of treatment. There are over 200 types of cancer and many different chemotherapy and other drug treatments. Whilst many people assume that all chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss, they don’t.
External beam radiotherapy only causes hair loss as a side effect of treatment at and around the specific area of treatment. If you are having external beam radiotherapy to the head and neck area please read our specific ‘Radiotherapy guide’.
With this in mind it’s really important to wait until your doctor or nurse can tell you about your specific treatment and if hair loss will happen to you. Once you know if hair loss will be a side effect of treatment then you can make a plan to deal with it and keep your own sense of style.
The section below relates mainly to chemotherapy-induced alopecia:
I’ve been told that my chemotherapy treatment will cause hair loss, when will my hair fall out?
Your nurse will be able to give you an advice sheet that lists all the side effects of your specific brand of chemotherapy treatment. Usually this sheet will tell you when hair loss is likely to start. Commonly most people find that hair loss starts within 10 days to 14 days after their first chemotherapy treatment.
Sometimes chemotherapy causes total hair loss and other times hair thinning. This is specific to your type of drug.
Will my facial hair also fall out?
If your chemotherapy treatment causes hair loss then anywhere that hair grows hair can fall out. This includes facial, scalp and other body hair.
Many men have told us that they didn’t expect the hair on their face including eyebrows, eyelashes, nose hair and other facial hair to fall out. With this in mind we hope this is helpful for you to be prepared.
Will my hair grow back after treatment?
It is normal to plan for your hair to grow back after treatment. In other words, the hair is only temporarily affected. It is very rare for the hair not to grow back at all.
If you already have male pattern baldness or other forms of hair loss your new hair will follow this same pattern.
Find out more in Hair growth cycle.
How long will it take my new hair to grow?
For the majority of men, once their treatment is completed, the hair starts to grow almost immediately. Within a matter of weeks a fine layer of hair may be visible and whilst this new re-growth may be thinner, thicker, or a different texture and colour, you can normally expect to see a good re-growth covering the scalp within 4 - 6 months. Most people will see they have a short crop style forming over this period of time.
Other areas of body hair such as underarms, facial and pubic hair can be slightly slower, but again you will normally see some hair quite quickly.
Take a look in New hair growth for more information.
Are men able to get support towards the cost of a wig?
All NHS patients are entitled to a wig that can be provided by your local wig supplier to the NHS. These suppliers must stock ranges for men. Ask your nurse for a wig referral.
You can choose to go along to your appointment and try on a wig without being committed. This is an ideal way to discover if wearing a wig may be suitable for you.
Should I cut my hair before it falls out?
This is entirely a personal choice. Many men say that they feel better once they have cut their hair very short and made the adjustment of how they look. Some men also choose to shave their facial hair off before it falls out. It is not recommended to cut your eyelashes.
Hair loss is often patchy and falls out over a number of weeks. With this in mind it can be a good idea to cut hair short prior to hair loss. However you can also cut your hair when it is falling and any time during treatment. The scalp can be tender and sore during hair loss and so cutting hair before treatment can be an advantage.
Cutting hair prior to or during hair loss does not affect the hair's ability to re-grow. It is a personal choice. If shaving bare or using clippers do ensure that your equipment is clean and be careful to treat any nics or cuts to minimize infections.
Take a look at Our guide to clipper cutting hair short
I don’t want people to know about my cancer treatment but hair loss will reveal this. Any tips of how I can keep this private?
Yes. Over the years many men have told us that they wish to keep their cancer treatment private and the only thing that reveals this is hair loss. The best piece of advice we can give you is to perhaps consider doing a charity head shave (and if applicable beard shave), including your eyebrows.
Perhaps choose a non-cancer related charity then start a Justgiving or other sponsored head shave. Many hairdressers will be happy to help you and in turn you can raise money for charity and keep your privacy. This way whenever your lack of hair on your head and face is a talking issue you can say that you had a sponsored head shave. So many men have told us that they did this and it really worked!
Naturally you can also cover up with hats and a wig if you choose. You may also like to try Scalp cooling.
Is scalp cooling for men as well as women?
Yes. You may be able to try scalp cooling to try and reduce hair loss. Scalp cooling is one of those things that until you are faced with the possibility of losing your hair you probably won’t have heard much about.
Scalp cooling is the only known way to reduce hair loss. Scalp cooling aims to reduce hair loss but it’s fair to say that more than usual hair loss is to be expected.
Scalp cooling is only compatible with certain cancer types (solid tumours) and specific chemotherapy drugs.
Read more about Scalp cooling.
Where can I get more information about hair loss and related ideas?
You may also like to browse the rest of our website for additional and more in-depth information. It's fair to say that we have written most of the website with a more female approach however the basics are the same.
You can contact our Hair loss advisors. Contact us, email or book a Head Start Session For Men. The team will be more than happy to support you.
Please get in touch.
We hope that this information has been helpful to you. If you have any feedback or questions our helpful team are here to guide you. We would love to find out what other information and support you would like.
Next planned review: February 2020