Chemotherapy is the medical treatment most commonly associated with hair loss. However, a new study states that endocrine therapy given to breast cancer patients can cause similar side effects. According to an article published in Medscape, “the study is the first to characterise endocrine therapy–induced alopecia (EIA) in patients with breast cancer”. The results were published online on April 11 in JAMA Dermatology.
83% of those examined showed mild to moderate signs of alopecia on the crown. 92% of all patients developed grade 1 alopecia which represents hair loss of less than 50%. The study acknowledged that patients still felt a “negative psychosocial impact” with this level of loss.
Endocrine therapy often takes place over a long duration. This means that the impact of hair loss on a patient’s mental well-being must be acknowledged. The study states that “alopecia is often cited as one of the most negative effects on quality of life in patients with cancer.”
In an accompanying editorial, Ralph Trueb, MD, Center for Dermatology and Hair Diseases, Zurich, Switzerland, recommends topical minoxidil for treating female androgenetic alopecia. He also warns against ignoring symptoms because hair loss may eventually become irreversible if left untreated.
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