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Does Skin Cancer Make You Lose Hair

Skin Cancer In Cats Diagnosis

Why Do Cancer Patients Lose Hair

If your veterinarian suspects skin cancer, they will want to take a sample of the area, so that it can be examined under a microscope. This can be done by collecting some cells with a needle and syringe, called a fine needle aspiration /needle biopsy.

Sometimes, an FNA doesnt provide enough information and your vet may recommend sedating or anesthetizing your cat to cut more of the tumour away.

These samples are then sent to a lab for analysis Your vet may also want to take samples from your cats lymph nodes and take some x-rays , to see if the cancer has spread. Blood work is also useful to determine if there is any damage to your cats insides and to help choose the best treatment plan.

Tests That Might Be Done

Biopsy: In a biopsy, the doctor takes out a small piece of tissue to check it for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if you have skin cancer and what kind it is. There are many types of skin biopsies. Ask your doctor what kind you will need. Each type has pros and cons. The choice of which type to use depends on your own case.

Lab tests of biopsy samples: If melanoma is found, lab tests might be done on the cancer cells to see if they have certain gene changes. This might affect your treatment options.

Chest x-ray: This test may be done to see if the melanoma has spread to your lungs.

Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves and their echoes to make pictures of the inside of your body. Ultrasound might be used to look at lymph nodes near the tumor to see if the cancer has spread there.

CT or CAT scan: This test uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of your insides. A CT scan may be used to see if nearby lymph nodes are swollen or if organs like the lungs or liver have spots that might be from the spread of melanoma. If any spots are found, a CT scan might be used to guide a needle into the spots to do a biopsy.

MRI scan: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make detailed pictures of your insides. It’s very good for looking at the brain and spinal cord. This test can help show if the cancer has spread.

Is Skin Cancer Of The Scalp The Same As Other Skin Cancers

Yes, the same skin cancers that occur on other areas of the skin can occur on the scalp.

These include the three most common skin cancers:

  • Basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer as well as the most common of all cancers. This skin cancer is almost always related to accumulated sun damage.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common skin cancer, which very frequently is related to sun damage.
  • Melanoma, the most serious of the skin cancers, which is related to many factors, including sun damage and tanning beds.

The hair on the head does offer some protection from the sun but not complete protection.

Signs of skin cancer on the scalp are the same as signs of all skin cancers, i.e., a sore that does not heal or a new growth or a mole that is irregular, has changed or has just appeared. The biggest challenges that scalp skin cancers present involve detection and prevention.

Even people who regularly check their skin as recommended often do not think of including their scalp. It is important to have someone else check the scalp thoroughly on a regular basis. Many hairdressers are trained to look for skin cancer signs on their clients scalps and are often are the ones to notice a suspicious lesion.

Perform a Skin Self-Exam

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Skin Cancer On Scalp Under Hair

Since skin cancer is caused by sun exposure primarily, it is logical to assume that it will manifest itself on the areas of our bodies most often exposed to the sun. Therefore, our heads are glaring cancer catching targets. Unfortunately with all types of skin cancer, the most common treatment is surgical removal of the site. This is particularly unnerving on the scalp.

In order to identify a cancerous mole, or lesion that is thought to be cancer, a biopsy is needed. In the case of skin cancer on scalp areas, this means removing the suspected offender surgically. Your hair is attached to that sample. Enter your new bald spot. Things arent all bad. After all, what other kind of cancer gives you prominent warning signs to signal you to get to the doctors frequently before the condition has a chance to worsen? That bald spot just became a symbol of your survival. It is of course, still a bald spot.

The signs and symptoms of skin cancer are hugely beneficial to diagnosis and treatment. They are what keep us from developing a life threatening condition and are our red flag to seek medical care. All skin and tissue removal can potentially cause damage and scarring, but these cosmetic defects are miniscule in comparison to the massive damage that untreated, spreading cancer can cause. Skin cancer on scalp regions may seem like a curse, but the signs your body provided you with are a blessing.

When To Seek Medical Care For Skin Cancer

Cancer and hair loss: technology to improve psychological ...

Many people, especially those who have fair coloring or have had extensive sun exposure, periodically check their entire body for suspicious moles and lesions.

Have your primary health care provider or a dermatologist check any moles or spots that concern you.

See your health care provider to check your skin if you notice any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of pigmented areas .

If you have skin cancer, your skin specialist or cancer specialist will talk to you about symptoms of metastatic disease that might require care in a hospital.

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Questions To Ask The Doctor

  • 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?

Questions To Ask The Health Care Team

You may want to ask your cancer care team the following questions.

  • Is my specific cancer treatment plan likely to cause hair loss?

  • If so, when will my hair loss happen? Will I lose hair over time or all at once?

  • How should I care for my hair and scalp during hair loss?

  • When will my hair grow back? What can I expect when my hair does return?

  • Is there a counselor, oncology social worker, or other team member who can help me cope with hair loss?

  • Are there any programs that provide free or low-cost wigs or other head coverings?

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Skin Disorders That Cause Pigment Loss

Pigment loss can be worrisome. It’s sometimes limited to small patches of skin but may be more generalized. Understanding the nature of the pigment loss is key to determining the most appropriate next steps. Common causes of pigment loss include skin conditions like vitiligo, inflammation, wound healing with scarring, infection and a variety of other conditions that a person may be born with or acquire 10.

Follicular Signals Can Trigger Melanoma

Tips for hair and skin during chemo and radiation therapies.

In another set of experiments, the researchers tested what happened when they silenced cell environment signals in the hair follicle one by one.

These showed that, even when melanocyte stem cells had taken on cancerous properties, they did not travel and divide to form melanomas unless they received two particular signals from their environment.

These signals are called Wnt and endothelin, and they normally promote proliferation of pigment cells and growth of the hair shaft in the follicles.

While our findings will require confirmation in further human testing, they argue that melanoma can arise in pigment stem cells originating both in follicles and in skin layers, such that some melanomas have multiple stem cells of origin.

Qi Sun, Ph.D.

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Does All Radiation Therapy Cause Hair Loss

Radiation therapy will generally cause hair loss to the body part that is being treated. For example, if your arm were treated with radiation, you may lose any hair on your arm, but the hair on your head would not be affected. The degree of hair loss will depend on several factors, including the size of the area being treated and the total dose of radiation being given. Hair loss is greatest within the treatment field, but may also occur in the area where the radiation beam exits the body.

Chemotherapy drugs also can cause hair loss. If you are also receiving chemotherapy, you should discuss whether or not the medications you are receiving may cause hair loss. When hair loss is caused by chemotherapy, it will include all the hair on your body . Learn more about hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

If Youre Having Radiation Therapy To The Pelvis

Radiation therapy to the pelvis can cause side effects such as:

  • Bladder problems
  • Fertility problems
  • Changes in your sex life

You might also have some of the same problems people get from radiation to the abdomen, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Bladder problems

Radiation to the pelvis can cause problems with urination, including:

  • Pain or burning sensations
  • Blood in the urine
  • An urge to urinate often

Most of these problems get better over time, but radiation therapy can cause longer-term side effects as well:

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How Is Cancer On The Scalp Treated

Potential treatments for skin cancer on your scalp include:

  • Surgery. Your doctor will remove the cancerous growth and some of the skin around it, to make sure that they removed all the cancer cells. This is usually the first treatment for melanoma. After surgery, you may also need reconstructive surgery, such as a skin graft.
  • Mohs surgery. This type of surgery is used for large, recurring, or hard-to-treat skin cancer. Its used to save as much skin as possible. In Mohs surgery, your doctor will remove the growth layer by layer, examining each one under a microscope, until there are no cancer cells left.
  • Radiation. This may be used as a first treatment or after surgery, to kill remaining cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy. If your skin cancer is only on the top layer of skin, you might be able to use a chemotherapy lotion to treat it. If your cancer has spread, you might need traditional chemotherapy.
  • Freezing. Used for cancer that doesnt go deep into your skin.
  • . Youll take medications that will make cancer cells sensitive to light. Then your doctor will use lasers to kill the cells.

The outlook for skin cancer on your scalp depends on the specific type of skin cancer:

Tips For Managing Hair Loss

Can Excessive Hair Loss Be a Sign of Cancer?
  • If you are having radiation therapy to your head or scalp area, think about cutting your hair short before treatment starts. This will make any hair loss easier to manage.
  • Wear a wig or toupee, 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, turban or scarf to protect your scalp against sunburn and the cold.
  • If you plan to wear a wig, choose it before treatment starts so you can match your own hair colour and style. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information about wig services.
  • 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 people how to manage the appearance-related side effects caused by cancer treatment. For more on this, call 1800 650 960.

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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Breast

If you have radiation to the breast, it can affect your heart or lungs as well causing other side effects.

Short-term side effects

Radiation to the breast can cause:

  • Skin irritation, dryness, and color changes
  • Breast soreness
  • Breast swelling from fluid build-up

To avoid irritating the skin around the breast, women should try to go without wearing a bra whenever they can. If this isnt possible, wear a soft cotton bra without underwires.

If your shoulders feel stiff, ask your cancer care team about exercises to keep your shoulder moving freely.

Breast soreness, color changes, and fluid build-up will most likely go away a month or 2 after you finish radiation therapy. If fluid build-up continues to be a problem, ask your cancer care team what steps you can take. See Lymphedema for more information.

Long-term changes to the breast

Radiation therapy may cause long-term changes in the breast. Your skin may be slightly darker, and pores may be larger and more noticeable. The skin may be more or less sensitive and feel thicker and firmer than it was before treatment. Sometimes the size of your breast changes it may become larger because of fluid build-up or smaller because of scar tissue. These side effects may last long after treatment.

After about a year, you shouldnt have any new changes. If you do see changes in breast size, shape, appearance, or texture after this time, tell your cancer care team about them right away.

Less common side effects in nearby areas

What Causes Dogs To Lose Hair In Patches

There are several reasons that dogs may experience bald patches. Allergies are prevalent, including environmental and food ones.

Flea bites also commonly cause allergies.

The problem is that there are dozens of things that could lead to your pup’s fur falling out. As such, you should see your vet immediately for an accurate diagnosis.

Potential causes include skin infections, food allergies, fungal infections, bacterial infections, flea allergies, hormonal imbalances, yeast infections, dry skin, and even other pets.

Your vet will need to confirm no other symptoms, such as mouth patches or irritated skin. He may also request allergy testing.

Then, the vet can use that knowledge to treat the issue at its source.

Veterinary professionals will also likely ask you about changes in your dog’s behavior, such as excessive scratching.

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Mechanism Of Estrogen Action

Estrogens are the terminal ligand in the biosynthetic pathway of gonadal steroid hormones and are synthesized from androgens by the loss of the C-19 angular methyl group and the formation of an aromatic A ring by the aromatase complex . Estrone is derived from androstenedione, whereas estradiol is formed from testosterone. Estrone and estradiol are interconvertable due to different isoenzymes of 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase .

The principle source of estrogen biosynthesis is the ovary in females of reproductive age. In men, estradiol can be produced in peripheral tissues by the actions of aromatase on testosterone . Humans, along with some other primates are unusual in that the adrenal cortex secretes large quantities of adrenal androgens, including dehydroepiandrosterone , which can then be converted into active steroids in peripheral tissues providing they have the appropriate enzymes . DHEA synthesized in the adrenal zona reticularis serves as the main precursor of active estrogens in post-menopausal women. Notwithstanding, the production of DHEA also decreases with age. Serum concentrations are low prior to puberty, reaching a peak in adulthood. However, throughout adult life, levels decline and by the 7th decade are reduced to only 10%20% of the peak concentrations in both sexes . Therefore, with aging the precursor steroids for peripheral estrogen biosynthesis are reduced.

Estrogen receptor: non-genomic signaling

Classical mechanism of action: genomic signaling

Hair Loss Treatment: How To Stop Hair Loss

Hair Loss & Wig Tips for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients

Topical minoxidil is one of the most common hair loss treatments for androgenic alopecia and is available over the counter in formulations for both men and women. Minoxidil can stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss, but it cannot cure baldness, and it may take up to six months to see any results. Prescription-strength Propecia is another treatment used for cases of male pattern baldness. Platelet-Rich Plasma injections and hair transplants may also be used as a response to hair loss.

Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute has Greater Reno-Tahoe area locations to assist with hair loss treatment.

You can also book an appointment to discuss hair loss treatment with a Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute provider today.

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Review Of Scalp Alopecia Due To A Clinically Unapparent Or Minimally Apparent Neoplasm

Noah Scheinfeld

Department of Dermatology, St Lukes Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, USA

Acta Derm Venereol 2006 86: 387392.

Scalp alopecia has a variety of causes. Alopecia can be due to factors that primarily and intrinsically affect the follicles, as in androgenic alopecia. Alopecia can also be due to conditions and factors that extrinsically and secondarily affect the follicles. Secondary types of alopecia are caused by inflammatory diseases , trauma, infections, and infiltration of neoplastic cells . Sometimes keloids can cause alopecia in striking fashion and be mistaken for tumors . Sometimes the infiltration of neoplastic cells manifests as papules and nodules and a diagnosis of cutaneous metastasis can be made clinically. On other occasions the infiltration of neoplastic cells is unapparent or minimally apparent on physical examination. In the latter, clinically an inflammatory or hormonal alopecia is suspected, a suspicion that is overturned as the cancer expands it physical manifestations. This paper will review such scalp alopecia clinically unapparent or minimally apparent neoplasm .

Fig. 1. Keloid mimicking tumor on the back of the neck, with total alopecia in the keloid area.

Table I. Various causes of alopecia neoplastica of the scalp without clinically apparent neoplasm at the site of alopecia

Metastatic malignant neoplasms

Osteomyoma-like tumor

Mechanism of action


Breast cancer

Non-breast carcinomas




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