Hair loss

If you have hair in the area being treated, you may lose some or all of it during or just after radiation therapy. The hair will usually grow back a few months after treatment has finished, but sometimes hair loss is permanent.

When cancers on one part of the face or head are treated, hair on the other side of the head may be lost due to radiation passing from one side to the other.


Tips for managing hair loss

  • Wear a wig, toupee, hat, scarf or turban, or leave your head bare. Do whatever feels comfortable and gives you the most confidence.
  • If you prefer to leave your head bare, wear a hat, beanie or scarf to protect your head against sunburn and the cold.
  • If you plan to wear a wig, choose it before treatment starts so you can match your own colour and style. For information about wig services, you can call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
  • As your hair grows back, talk to your hairdresser or barber about how to style it. It may be thinner, or curly where it was once straight, and the new growth may be patchy for a while.
  • Contact Look Good Feel Better. This program teaches techniques to help restore appearance and improve self-confidence. For details, call 1800 650 960.
  • See Hair Loss.

This information was last reviewed in December 2017
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Cancer information

Hair Loss
Hair loss (also called alopecia) can be a side effect of cancer treatment. Not all cancer treatment causes hair loss. Learn more.

Managing cancer side effects
Cancer and cancer treatments may cause a range of side effects. They vary depending on the treatments you were given. Learn more.

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