Ibrance and letrozole hair loss and h... - SHARE Metastatic ...

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Ibrance and letrozole hair loss and hair coloring

JenniJenni profile image

Hi everyone :) I am a 52 year old woman, who had stage 4 breast cancer and also a full mastectomy. After 5 yrs of being in remission, it has returned to my breast walls and spine along with hip bone. I have started my 1 st cycle of Ibrance with letrozole and was wondering about the hair loss, which scares me, and also, I was wondering if it’s ok to color my roots and hair. My dr says yes it’s ok and that I won’t lose my hair, but I’ve been reading otherwise 🥲 thanks so much ❤️

55 Replies

I’ve been on Ibrance and Exemestane for 20 months. No total hair loss but my hair does seem to be thinner on the top of my head. Hair color has been fine for me—- I’ve been getting the top dyed pink. Nobody notices the thinning hair.

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I wish you well as you start Ibrance ! I have been on it for nearly four years (December 2017) and will be 58 in a few months . Regarding the effect on hair , my fine hair has thinned , and probably more so at the front , and the texture of the hair has changed ( to more dry /brittle hair and wavy ) but I do still have hair and I have it cut into a very short bob with a few blonde (foil) highlights . To avoid it going frizzy I try not to over dry it ( I have a fabulous Dyson Supersonic hair dryer !) and put smoothing balm on the ends . Some ladies use Moroccan oil ... or aloe Vera gel overnight . Hope you find something that works for you ... some ladies on here have had hair extensions or choose to wear a wig for fuller hair .

My eyebrows have thinned too and were very pale ... I had a brow sculpt / brow lamination / tint last week in a salon for the first time for a special occasion and it did make a difference ( tho’ it only lasts about six weeks before needing a retint ) .

For me it’s all about making the most of what I have , as I realise how important this medication has been for me in keeping me ‘ stable ‘ . I wish the same for you too x

Thanks so much for those tips .I’m having the same problems with my hair but just glad I’ve got some after 12 months of baldness😂

Yes I still colour my silver hair and I’ve never been advised not too .

How did you find your brow tint ?

I’ve got the half mine but very thin and spiked and fed up with painting them on every morning !

Still I’m not complaining just grateful and happy to be well at the mo.

Sending hugs and happy smiles to you allxxx

I treated myself to the full ‘ Brow Sculpt , Brow Lamination and tint ‘ in my local salon last week ( about £50 ) and it made my pale sparse brow hairs look fuller than they have for a long time . ( had them done for my daughters graduation ceremony/ pics !!) . I have never yet had micro blading or semi permanent makeup ( where they transfer on the brow ) .. . this was a more natural looking alternative . They last about 6-8 weeks and then I will go for a touch up tint only in a few weeks , and then maybe have the lamination done again in a few months . (You have to leave time between each lamination ) . All I have to do to maintain them is a tiny drop of castor oil on them daily .

I also treated myself to shellac gel nails in a pinky ‘naked ‘ colour ... I always keep my nails very short but they looked good and have stayed on well . It was lovely to have some pampering , and my daughter had the brows/ gel nails done too . A nice treat ! x 💅🏿

What is lamination? I don't think I have enough to sculpt. Had threading once and found it too painful. Not doing that again. There is so little it doesn't matter. My hair dresser dyes my eyebrows when she does my hair (yes, I color my hair -- she won't let me go gray).

When I was on Ibrance, I struggled with thin hair on top. Cutting it short and dying helped. The only consolation for Ibrance stopping its miraculous effects is that now that I have been off it four months, I have thick healthy hair again.

I didn’t have much to sculpt and the beautician waxed the shape too ! ( no threading !) I had to have a skin allergy test 48 hours before . A setting lotion is applied to the brow hairs which are brushed upwards . It doesn’t make the brows fuller but defines them more creating the illusion of a fuller brow . You can opt for a tint if needed ( which I had as mine were translucent ). It lasts for about 6 weeks ...so good for a special occasion . Microblading on the other hand lasts longer as it’s a semi permanent tattoo but you have to be careful as there is more chance of infection as the procedure breaks the skin . I was also told castor oil applied every day into eyebrow roots promotes hair growth making each strand stronger , so I massage a drop of castor oil onto my eyebrows twice a day now ! It is also supposed to stop the brow hairs from drying out after lamination . Will see how long the effect lasts ! x

Sounds lovely and what a boost for you and your daughter💕I’m going to try your brow sculpt sounds just what I need .

Stay well sending love xxx

Just ask at your beauty salon if they do it and if it’s suitable for your brows . Good luck x 😘

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I've been on ibrance and letrozole for16 months and have had no hair loss. I did stop colouring my hair as I was concerned about the chemicals. From time to time it's got very out of condition. But I use a good conditioner. I try to use natural products, and hand made shampoo bars. I don't wash it every day now, sometimes just wet and spray with a conditioner.

When I had chemo 27 years ago I didn't lose my hair, so maybe I'm just lucky.

I have an eyebrow tint from time to time. Just so I actually can see them!

Good luck!

I’ve been on Ibrance for almost a year and things are stable with my bone mets. However, I have had significant hair loss and now have extensions to cover up the balding patches. I have also lost most of my eyelashes and eyebrows. But I recently had permanent eyeliner and eyebrows done and they are fab. Has really added definition back to my face and, fortunately, look very natural. I didn’t want that old lady painted on eyebrow look! I have told very few people about my mbc and, other than the hair thing, I look the same and currently feel really good. So it was important to me that I didn’t have obvious physical signs that my cancer had returned. Ibrance clearly affects people in different ways. It’s maddening but you just have to wait and see if it results in hair loss for you and hope that it doesn’t. As long as it keeps on working for me I’ll put up with the hair loss and count myself lucky.

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to Rubyjude

Hi Rubyjude, what type of hair estensions do you use? I have just done my first cycle of Ibrance along with letrozole, I want to color my roots but unsure and also use hair extensions for length anyway… I luckily have t lost any hair yet,And pray that I don’t, and can still wear my clip in hair extensions ❤️

Rubyjude profile image
Rubyjude in reply to JenniJenni

I went to a hair loss specialist, one of a few suggested by my breast care nurse. They assess the degree of hair loss and work with you to agree how much additional hair you require which is then attached as extensions to your own hair (or what is left of it). It is an expensive solution, admittedly, but it was that or a wig, as I had so much hair loss. Cutting it short or clever styling would not have worked at all, sadly. And I found out first time round that I am not really a scarf person, more a baseball cap type but you can't wear those all the time! I am sure there are such specialists in the US. Some advice given to me by a friend, whose hair had come back thinly after chemo, was to wash it only once a week. You could, in between times, get it wet in the shower but do not use any hair products except that once weekly. I hope you find a solution that works for you. As you can see from the many varying replies to your dilemma, there are so many different responses to Ibrance that anything could happen! Good luck.

Sorry you are now in this position. I hope you get on well with the medication. I have been on it for over 2 years now. In the last year my hair has gone dry and curly and I have had it all cut very short. I get up, splash some water on it and go, but I am not one for bothering much hair and make up. No loss of hair for me. Hope your hair behavesClare

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to BellaE

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I have been on Ibrance and Faslodex for 9 months now and have experienced significant thinning all over. If I run my fingers through 3 or four strands come out. Try to be gentle with combing and washing. I started washing mine every other day and try not to fuss with it too much. I have heard from others that it slows after a while but mine seems to have picked up so I’m hoping this happens sooner than later. I keep focusing on the fact that the meds are keeping me going but after losing all my hair to chemo in 2013 it is a little hard to take when you have to go through it again. My eyelashes and eyebrows have also thinned but I have blonde hair so it doesn’t seem to be as noticeable with a little brow pencil and eyeliner. Dealing with the hair loss on your head is harder to take I think with such an outward sign of our condition. Best to you as you navigate through these things knowing you’re not alone and can find much support in this forum.

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Hi, Jenni!I was on your same protocol for 33 months when I was first diagnosed with MBC in late 2017. My hair definitely thinned but it helped to take daily supplements of biotin, along with biotin-based shampoo. Also, I didn’t shower as frequently which I think helped a bit. It definitely subsides over time; and you’ll eventually notice regrowth.

God bless you, Jenni. 🙏🏻🙏🏻💗💗

Linda

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I have been on Ibrance for three and a half years and in the first months I lost about a third of my hair, not in clumps but even shedding, so that I had a handful on the brush every time. My work involves public appearances and it was very painful to see photos taken under strong lights with my skull shining through where I once had a thick head of hair. People take photos all the time nowadays, without wondering whether they'll hurt you or not... Anyway, much of it has grown back over time but it is changed. Individual hairs are fine, straight and very dry. I have had to stop colouring because colour makes it even drier, not because I thought it harmful. My hair also looks thicker now when I leave it grey. I have found a very good short hairstyle and actually grown to love not having to think about roots etc. I now feel sorry for people who do: a strange 180 degree turn :-) I do believe that the best thing to do Jenni is what makes you feel good about yourself. If that is colouring, go ahead... the little bit of toxic material in the colour would be more than offset by positive feelings and they are so precious in our condition. I wish you many happy years

Hi I'm on ibrance and fulvestrant and my hair has definitely thinned especially at the front. My hairdresser is amazing and disguises it somewhat with some clever blonde highlights. I use a biotin shampoo but still when I brush it I get hair loss but my tumours are stable so being a bit balder is worth it for me 😊 Get a great hairdresser invest in some funky scarves and hair bands. Sending positive healing vibes 💜💜

Hi I'm on ibrance and fulvestrant since March 2019. I color and even Keratin my hair and color my eyebrows. My hairdresser said she has noticed no difference in the amount of my hair and I rely on her judgement as she shoots it straight and I see her every three weeks. I have a job with weekly media appearances so I too was stressing this.

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Hi

I am 57 and just starting my 3rd cycle of letrozole and ibrance. I have not lost any hair, which is great because I have always had a small case of alopecia. Since my diagnosis mets bc, my whole diet and what I put on my body has changed. I eat more plant based, more alkaline foods. I used to colour my hair but won't do that anymore. I am letting my hair go natural gray. A lot of toxins in hair dyes. My eye brows have always been fine, I use a eyebrow pencil, that is the only make up I use now. I can't be bothered lol. But they do have more natural colours. That is just my thoughts 😁.

Deb

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Hi jennijenni so sorry it has come back. That's something we all live in fear of. (Although mime hasn't gone away yet) I was on letrozol for 18 months and it was so good. Sorry to say it stopped working but does go on for years for many people. I didn't want to use chemical coloring so researched a purchased different colourings that didn't work. Now I have gone back to my old one as it doesn't seem to make any difference,. As for hair loss the only hair I lost was under arms and legs so that was a plus with no shaving. Hope you keep your spirits up. X

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I have completed 22 months of Ibrance 125mg and Letrozole. My hair has thinned a lot. It was not a good look and very discouraging. I use Minoxidil 5% topical solution once a day and I also use a laser cap every other day for 25 minutes. They have both helped with some regrowth or stabilization of hair loss. The important thing for me is that I do not ingest anything that would disrupt the treatment. So, am only into topicals. I color my hair once a month but only use Aveda products. My dermatologist suggested Revitabrow for my eyebrows. It is amazing and my eyebrows are better than ever. I get false eyelashes and try to distract from the very thin hair on my head. BTW, have done radiation three times since my cancer returned after 22 years in February 2019. I think it causes some hair loss and fatigue. Anyway, I keep at it. Am lucky to only work part time now so I do have time to devote to this silly stuff. The cancer drugs are tough but I also think today’s world is not easy and I am hoping that if COVID can get contained, that there will be a lot less stress to deal with. I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe the cancer drugs do cause hair loss but so too does stress that piles on from a variety of sources and conspires to cause hair loss.

Good luck. So glad you reached out. What is terrific about this site, is that you can get help for a variety of issues that you don’t always want to talk to your doctor about.

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to Kdiet

Thanks so much ❤️❤️❤️

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to Kdiet

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JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to Kdiet

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Hi JenniJenni,There’s so much variation in how Ibrance affects people’s hair that you may just have to wait and see. Hopefully for you that will involve minimal hair loss!

I don’t think there’s any near-term danger in coloring your hair. There are studies that show greater incidence of cancer with long-term hair dying especially for dark hair colors, and the chemicals do add one more thing your body has to deal with while already processing quite powerful medications. But as others have said, if it makes you feel more beautiful and socially at ease it can be well worth it.

In my case going on Ibrance 10 months ago coincided with my decision to stop coloring my hair dark brown after 30 years, and transition to my natural gray. This has involved several rounds of bleaching so I’m now grayish-blonde and look forward to the day when it’s just all natural gray! I’ve had a fair amount of thinning but had so much hair to start with that there was some to spare.

Wishing you well …🙏🏼💕

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to LDR1

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I have had alot of hair thinning, but I still color!

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to mariootsi

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Hi Jenni. Welcome to the board but of course sorry you need to join the group. I was diagnosed with MBC in May 2018 at the age of 54 and I just started my 40th cycle of Ibrance 125mg and Letrozole. I did experience hair thinning for about the first 6 months on the regime but then it seemed to stabilize for me. Currently my hair is very thick again. I eat healthy from all food groups and juice regularly and don't take any supplements for hair growth. I developed a severe allergy to hair dyes a number of years ago so haven't colored my hair in quite a few years but honestly if that wasn't the case I am sure I would be coloring mine. There is really no scientific evidence that coloring makes any difference.....sure lots of anecdotal posts about others experiences but I always personally take that with a grain of salt. If your oncologist tells you it's ok and it will make you feel better I say go for it. Quality of life is important. Looking forward to seeing your posts. Take care.

Sandra

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JenniJenni in reply to girlsptz

Thank you ❤️❤️❤️

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JenniJenni in reply to girlsptz

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TE53_67 profile image
TE53_67 in reply to girlsptz

Ditto I am on my 35th round of Ibrance 75mg. I eat a plant based diet largely with the addition of fish. I do take supplements. My hair is still very thick, but very very dry from the zoladex ! I do still dye my hair with more natural based dyes. Try not to worry as side effects are all individual.

I have been on Ibrance and Letrozole for 10 months. I also have not experienced total hair loss but my hair is definitely much thinner. I used to have nice thick hair that I had to get cut every 6 or 7 weeks, now I am lucky if I need it cut at 10 weeks. I have still been doing color though and am keeping my hair very short so it does not look as noticeable. Also, it makes me feel better and more positive about myself. I asked my doctor for a prescription for a wig if I choose to go that route and she was happy to give me one. My hair stylist recommended looking for one while my hair is newly cut and colored if i want to get something that matches well. I still have not checked out any wigs, but will probably do that before my next cut and color. I did not think I would be upset at having my hair be so thin, but I find it bothers me. Every time I wash it I notice more of my scalp showing. I am lucky that thus far this is really my only noticeable side effect from these meds and they seem to be working. Best wishes to you.

Thanks so much ❤️

You are welcome! Hugs

I’ve been on Ibrance/ palbociclib for a year now and my hair is fine ~ I get my hair coloured but have switched to a lower chemical one OWay

I am on Ibrance, Aromasin and Zometa. My hair is thinning on top. I still dye it blonde. I hardly have eyebrows. Since I have cancer they will not microblade my eyebrows. The pigment they use has iron particles and could distort a MRI. Even though it would be minimal I would not want to chance of them missing a brain met behind my eyebrows. I will keep penciling the eyebrows on.

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Sorry to hear of your progression. I was on Ibrance/faslodex for a year. My very thick, curly hair thinned out in the first six months, but no one really noticed other than me, my husband and hairdresser. It’s stabilized after that. My eyebrows thinned also. I continued on coloring my hair. So many women have been on Ibrance for a very, very long time. Wishing you much success on this treatment!

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I'm 52 and I've beeen on Ibrance/Letrozole since January 2018 (lesion on vertebrae, hip and brain after remission for 11 years). My hair has thinned, but only I have noticed it. My stylist said they could not really tell a difference (I also have a head full of hair that I keep cut in a long pixie.) Over time, I've noticed that the hair is no longer thinning - perhaps my body is getting used to the Rx. I used to color my hair until Covid hit, therefore I have let it go natural salt and pepper. I get many compliments on it, but I sometimes wish I was still coloring it. The extra cash in the wallet has been a good thing though. I pray you have little reaction to your new cycle of meds.

JenniJenni profile image
JenniJenni in reply to morty87

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Hi.Your prognosis is very similar to mine. I had initially some hair thinning from the Ibrance however it did subside. I make sure my nutrition is excellent and I use natural hair serums like"Better not Younger". Castor oil, ginger and peppermint oil can help too. Best to you.

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