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Can Melanoma Cause Hair Loss

Treatment Of Hair Loss Related To Skin Cancer In Dogs


If your dog is indeed experiencing hair loss from skin cancer, you will have to treat the underlying cause first. If you do not treat the skin cancer, the hair loss will only continue and return as his condition progresses. Chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery, hyperthermia, and surgery are all treatments you can utilize to treat your dog& rsquo s condition.

You can also choose to use more holistic therapies such as vitamin B, C, A, and E in addition to other cancer therapies. These therapies can be used as a nutrition booster to help your dog& rsquo s nutrition system. This may give him the vitamins he needs to begin producing hair in the related area.

If you treat just the hair loss, all you are doing is masking the symptoms of cancer. Even if you do try to just treat the issues of hair loss, there is no guarantee it will work. As the cancer progresses it will only make your dog& rsquo s immune system more concerned with other things within the body, not the production of hair. Additional therapies and medications will be administered in accordance with your dog& rsquo s needs.

Melanomas That Could Be Mistaken For A Common Skin Problem

Melanoma that looks like a bruise

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, including the bottom of the foot, where it can look like a bruise as shown here.

Melanoma that looks like a cyst

This reddish nodule looks a lot like a cyst, but testing proved that it was a melanoma.

Dark spot

In people of African descent, melanoma tends to develop on the palm, bottom of the foot, or under or around a nail.

Did you spot the asymmetry, uneven border, varied color, and diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser?

Dark line beneath a nail

Melanoma can develop under a fingernail or toenail, looking like a brown line as shown here.

While this line is thin, some are much thicker. The lines can also be much darker.

How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed

Persistent hair loss often indicates an underlying health issue.

Your doctor or dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss based on a physical examination and your health history. In some cases, simple dietary changes can help. Your doctor may also change your prescription medications.

If your dermatologist suspects an autoimmune or skin disease, they might take a biopsy of the skin on your scalp.

This will involve carefully removing a small section of skin for laboratory testing. Its important to keep in mind that hair growth is a complex process. It may take time to determine the exact cause of your hair loss.

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Some Skin Cancers May Start In Hair Follicles

NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine
Some of the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers.

Some of the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers, a new study finds.

Hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers. It is there that immature pigment-making cells develop cancer-causing genetic changes — and in a second step — are exposed to normal hair growth signals, say the study authors.

Past models of the disease had argued that sunlight was a major risk factor for melanoma — but current work argues that the triggers are always there in normal follicles.

The new study, published online November 4 in Nature Communications, found that unlike their normal counterparts, newly cancerous pigment stem cells then migrate up and out of the follicles to establish melanomas in nearby surface skin before spreading deeper. The study was conducted in genetically engineered mice, with the results confirmed in human tissue samples.

Invisible Trail Revealed

The study results reflect development, in which a human starts as a single stem cell, the embryo, and becomes a fetus made up of hundreds of cell types. Along the way, stem cells divide, multiply and specialize, until, finally, they become cells capable of playing a single role .

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Protect Your Skin From The Sun

New cancer treatment prevents hair loss from chemotherapy ...

Anyone who has had melanoma has a higher risk of getting another skin cancer, including melanoma.

Research shows that people who have had melanoma can decrease their risk of getting another skin cancer by protecting their skin from the sun. Despite this finding, studies have found that many people who have been treated for melanoma dont protect their skin from the sun.

You can reduce your risk of getting melanoma or another skin cancer by:

  • Wearing sun-protective clothes, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat, along with UV-protective sunglasses.

  • Staying in the shade while outdoors.

  • Planning outdoor activities so that you avoid being outdoors between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when the suns rays are the strongest.

  • Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to all skin that clothing wont cover, even when its cloudy or cold outside.

  • Using sunscreen every day, even when youll be outside for a short time, such as when you go to work or run errands.

  • Avoiding tanning, both indoors and outside.

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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Chest

Radiation treatment to the chest may cause side effects such as:

  • Sore throat

Radiation can also cause other problems in the heart or lungs.

Heart complications

Getting radiation to the middle portion of the chest can raise your risk of heart disease. This risk increases with higher radiation doses and larger treatment areas in this part of your body. Radiation can also cause hardening of the arteries , heart valve damage, or irregular heartbeats.

Radiation pneumonitis

Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by radiation treatment to the chest . It may occur about 3 to 6 months after getting radiation therapy. Its more likely if you have other lung diseases, like emphysema . Common symptoms of radiation pneumonitis include:

  • Shortness of breath that usually gets worse with exercise
  • Chest pain, which is often worse when taking in a deep breath
  • Cough
  • Weakness

Sometimes there are no symptoms, and radiation pneumonitis is found on a chest x-ray.

Symptoms often go away on their own, but if treatment is needed, it is based on trying to decrease the inflammation. Steroids, like prednisone, are usually used. With treatment, most people recover without any lasting effects. But if it persists, it can lead to pulmonary fibrosis . When this happens, the lungs can no longer fully inflate and take in air.

Be sure you understand what to look for, and tell your cancer care team if you notice any of these side effects.

Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Treatment

Many early-stage small basal cell cancers or squamous cell cancers can be removed by Mohs surgery, a technique that spares normal tissue through repeated intraoperative margin testing, removing only the cancer and leaving adjacent normal tissue. Tumors with nerve involvement, lymph node involvement or of a large size are not suitable for Mohs surgery. They require a multimodality approach to treatment, with formal surgical resection and adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy.

Melanoma is more likely to spread, and aggressive surgical resection with wide margins is required, in addition to radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery provides comprehensive surgical care and treatment for head and neck cancers. Our surgeons are at the leading edge of head and neck cancer treatment. You will benefit from the skilled care of head and neck surgeons, guiding clinical advancements in the field of head and neck cancer care.

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Is Hair Loss A Sign Of Cancer

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Cancer is one of the most difficult and taxing diseases to treat. It can wreak havoc on the body and weaken the immune system and just about every other system for that matter.

It can make you tired, frail, pale and run down. But can it make you bald?

Between the scarves and the Locks of Love campaigns, we all know that hair loss during cancer is a frequent occurrence.

But if youre reading this, youre probably wondering, as many people do, whether hair loss is a result of the treatments, or also of the cancer itself.

Weve put together a comprehensive look at the cancer/hair loss question. But first lets start with what you probably already know.

Questions To Ask The Doctor

Chemotherapy Hair Loss During Breast Cancer Treatment
  • How far has the melanoma spread under my skin?
  • Has it spread anywhere else?
  • What treatment do you think is best for me?
  • Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
  • Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
  • What will the surgery be like?
  • Will I need other types of treatment, too?
  • Whats the goal of these treatments?
  • What side effects could I have from these treatments?
  • What can I do about side effects that I might have?
  • Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
  • What about special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
  • Whats the next step?

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How Can I Prevent Hair Loss

There are things you can do to prevent further hair loss. Dont wear tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or buns that put too much pressure on your hair. Over time, those styles permanently damage your hair follicles.

Try not to pull, twist, or rub your hair. Make sure youre eating a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of iron and protein.

Certain beauty regimens can worsen or cause hair loss.

If youre currently losing hair, use a gentle baby shampoo to wash your hair. Unless you have extremely oily hair, consider washing your hair only every other day. Always pat the hair dry and avoid rubbing your hair.

Styling products and tools are also common culprits in hair loss. Examples of products or tools that can affect hair loss include:

  • blow dryers

What Causes Cancer To Form On Your Scalp

The main cause of all types of skin cancer is sun exposure. Your scalp is one of your body parts exposed most to the sun, especially if you are bald or have thin hair. That means its one of the more common spots for skin cancer.

Other potential causes of skin cancer on your scalp include using a tanning bed and having had radiation treatment on your head or neck area.

The best way to prevent skin cancer on your scalp is to protect your scalp when you go into the sun:

  • Wear a hat or other head covering whenever possible.
  • Spray sunscreen on your scalp.

Other ways to help prevent skin cancer on your scalp are:

  • Avoid using tanning beds.
  • Limit your time in the sun.
  • Check your scalp regularly to spot any potential cancerous spots early. This can help stop precancerous lesions from turning into cancer or stop skin cancer from spreading. You can use a mirror to look at the back and top of your scalp more thoroughly.

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Treatment For Hair Loss

Most forms of baldness have no cure, especially if a person has total baldness. Some types of baldness will disappear on their own. Treatment may include:

  • Certain medications to promote hair growth
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Treating any underlying condition or disease
  • Hair transplants
  • Skin lifts and grafts

Early And Late Effects Of Radiation Therapy

Cancers That Cause Hair Loss
  • Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects tend to be short-term, mild, and treatable. Theyre usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
  • Late side effects can take months or even years to develop. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. Careful treatment planning can help avoid serious long-term side effects. Its always best to talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.

Read Also: How Tell If You Have Skin Cancer

How Long Do Side Effects Last

Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.

Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.

Causes Of Hair Loss Related To Skin Cancer In Dogs

If your dog is currently being treated for cancer, certain chemotherapy agents, for example doxorubicin, can cause hair loss in your pet. Luckily this type of hair loss is reversible. It can also cause scaling of the skin and hyperpigmentation. The hair loss is first seen at injection sites and head but then can extend to the ventral neck, thorax, abdomen, and inner surfaces of the limbs.

If your dog is not being treated but has hair loss in the area where cancer has been diagnosed, it may be due to the skin being sick. The skin is unable to produce hairs as it normally would since the tumor is interfering with normal bodily functions.

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Stress Hair Loss And Body Image

  • The diagnosis of melanoma and the need for treatment can be very stressful. You may be able to reduce your stress by expressing your feelings to others. Learning relaxation techniques may also help reduce your stress.
  • Hair loss can be emotionally distressing. Not all chemotherapy medicines cause hair loss. And some people have only mild thinning that is noticeable only to them. Talk to your doctor about whether hair loss is an expected side effect with the medicines you will receive.
  • Your feelings about your body may change following a diagnosis of melanoma and the need for treatment. Adapt to your body-image changes by talking openly about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to groups that can offer more support and information.

Having cancer can change your life in many ways. For help in managing these changes, see the topic Getting Support When You Have Cancer.

Cancer Signals In Both Men And Women

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Appetite loss. Many conditions, from depression to the flu, can make you feel less hungry. Cancer can have this effect by changing your metabolism, the way your body turns food into energy.

Stomach, pancreatic, colon, and ovarian cancers also can put pressure on your stomach and make you feel too full to eat.

Blood in the stool. Cancers can bleed, but so can a bunch of other things, like ulcers, hemorrhoids, infections, or a sore. When you see red in your poop, the blood is often from somewhere in your GI tract, meaning your esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

One way to tell where the blood is coming from is by how light or dark it looks. Bright red could mean the bleeding is in your rectum or the end of your intestines. A darker color means it may be from higher up, like a stomach ulcer.

No matter what the cause, blood in your stool needs to be checked out. You may need a colonoscopy or other tests to find the problem.

Blood in the urine. When it shows up in your pee, blood could be a warning sign of a problem in your urinary tract. Kidney or bladder cancer can cause this symptom, but it could also be due to an infection, kidney stones, or kidney disease.

Cough that doesn’t go away. A cold or the flu can make you hack away, but it’s also a potential symptom of lung cancer, along with red flags like chest pain, weight loss, hoarseness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. See your doctor if you can’t seem to shake it, especially if you’re a smoker.


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Can Melanoma Be Prevented

There is no sure way to prevent melanoma, but there are things you can do that may help lower your risk for it, such as:

  • Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Not using tanning booths or beds and sunlamps
  • Practicing sun safety. Limit time in the sun when UV light is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing sunglasses that have 100% UVA/UVB protection
  • Wearing clothing to shade your face and cover your body
  • Doing skin checkups often

Regular skin self-exams may help you find skin cancer early, when its smaller and easier to treat. Become familiar with the way your skin and moles look. Talk with your healthcare provider about any bumps, spots, or other marks on your skin.


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