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Does breast cancer chemotherapy increase early menopause risk, and how can hair loss be prevented?

If you have not gone through menopause, chemotherapy may stop your ovaries from producing estrogen. You may go into early menopause. If you want to have children in the future, discuss the risks of infertility with your healthcare provider. Some women’s ovaries begin working again after chemotherapy treatment. Women who want to bear children in the future may also choose fertility preservation before starting chemotherapy.

Not everyone loses hair when receiving chemotherapy, but many people do. Some people’s hair only thins. Others lose the majority or all of their hair. Using a cold cap can reduce hair loss. Cold caps cool your scalp before, during and after chemotherapy treatment. Cooling tightens the blood vessels in your scalp, potentially reducing how much chemotherapy goes to your hair follicles. People may choose to wear a wig as a result of hair loss. Some private insurance companies may help cover wig costs if your doctor prescribes a “cranial prosthesis” or “hair prosthesis.” Medicare Parts A and B do not cover wigs, but the costs may be tax-deductible.

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