Coping with hair loss

It is quite natural to experience a range of emotions when dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment, such as hair loss.

Being prepared and talking about how you feel can help you adjust to this temporary change in your appearance. It may be difficult to cope with people’s reactions to your hair loss.

If you are not comfortable talking about it, give a simple response that creates boundaries and people often follow your lead, eg. “I have had to have some treatment for my health and this is the side effect.”

Learn more about:


Taking back some control

It can help to plan ahead for how you might deal with the possibility of hair loss.

  • Consider cutting your hair before treatment starts to give yourself time to adjust. Some people cut their hair short before treatment starts, while others prefer to cut their hair in stages.
  • Prepare children for your hair loss to help reduce their feelings of fear or anxiety. Cancer Council’s Talking to Kids About Cancer includes tips on how to talk to children about the changes cancer treatment may cause. 
Talking to someone else who has experienced hair loss may be helpful – call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information and support.

Hair and scalp care

Below are some tips that may help you take care of your hair and scalp during and after cancer treatment.

If you have lost your hair

  • Gentle massage and moisturising of the scalp can be invigorating and reduce flaky areas.
  • Protect your scalp from the sun with sunscreen, or a scarf or hat.
  • Use a pillow case made from satin, polyester or cotton.
  • You may like to wear a soft cap or beanie to keep your head warm as having no hair or less hair can make you feel cold.

If your scalp is sensitive and your hair is thin

  • Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner.
  • Brush your hair gently with a soft bristle brush.
  • Dry your hair naturally or use a cool setting on the hair dryer.
  • Avoid heated rollers, curling wands or straightening irons.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals such as hair colouring, gel, mousse and perming agents.
  • If you have lost hair under your arms avoid perfumed deodorants.

If you have any concerns, discuss them with your doctor or nurses and follow their specific advice on caring for your scalp during treatment.


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Hair Loss.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in February 2015
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
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Cancer information

Physical effects and emotions
The physical impact of cancer and cancer treatment may affect your quality of life and emotions in different ways

View our publications
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