Hair Disorders Associated with Anticancer Agents

    November 2013
    Caroline E. Yeager, Elise A. Olsen
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    TLDR Some cancer treatments cause different types of hair loss, but scalp cooling can help prevent it.
    A decade ago, a study by Caroline Yeager and Elise A. Olsen from the Department of Dermatology, Duke University Medical Center, reviewed the types and amounts of hair loss associated with various anticancer agents. The study focused on three main types of hair abnormalities seen with chemotherapy-induced hair loss/alopecia (CIA): telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, and abnormal hair growth. Cytotoxic chemotherapy traditionally caused either a telogen or anagen effluvium, while targeted therapies could also cause abnormal hair growth. The study also discussed potential measures to prevent or hasten the regrowth seen with CIA. Among the prophylactic treatment options, scalp cooling was the most extensively used and discussed treatment method for CIA, showing benefit in preventing hair loss. The development of quantitative grading scales for CIA was also noted, which could aid in evaluating possible interventions.
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