Radiation and hair loss

Is anyone concerned about the amount of radiation they’ve received? I know its cumulative but does that change as time goes by? Does your exposure basically lessen after a year or two or never? Would it be beneficial to know how much you’ve had so far? I’ve tried to find out more online but wish it was more to the point for me. Such as, this is the max and that’s that. Too much information and my brain doesn’t process as well! My reason for asking is, I’ve had a small amount of hair loss since I had a second coiling in October and wasn’t expecting that to happen. I had a bit of loss with the first coiling 9 months ago and there is still a section that comes out easily when I wash my hair. Has anyone else experienced this? With so many other things everyone has been dealing with, this kind of seems minor in the big scheme of things but I’m curious what others have dealt with.

Wendy, I spent many years in the nuclear field involved with exposure control of workers. It is extremely doubtful that the amount of radiation you recieved from cat scans or MRI's would cause you to experience hair loss or experience any other symptoms of radiation exposure. I would reccomend discussing your accelerated hair loss with your primary care physician.

I get hair thinning after I have a CT, but it’s a side effect from the iodine contrast dye. It’s not permanent.

Hair loss is reported often on the AVM site after brain surgery, and it looks like it has been reported fairly often here, too, Wendy: http://www.bafsupport.org/main/search/search?q=hair+loss

It is usually temporary.

I knew the hair loss was from the radiation and my neurosurgeon had said as much when I questioned it after the first coiling. I'm more concerned with the radiation being cumulative and that the hair loss happened again with the second coiling. The second coiling was shorter than the first which was 8 hours and also I didn't have the 20 CT Scans and/or chest x-rays in addition to the fluoroscope like the first time so again I wasn't expecting any hair loss. I'm not exaggerating about the number of CT Scans and chest x-rays either. I looked over my insurance one day and I believe I must have had one of each every other day while in the neuro ICU. Anyway, I should have looked for info on the site before posting this so sorry about the repeat question. Thanks for the link Dancermom. I checked it out and I am fortunate that my hair loss was not as severe as some. So, what I think I will do is find out from my neurosurgeon what my radiation level is and if I should be aware of anything going forward. I'm not crazy concerned that I did have enough to cause hair loss which is a lot if you think about it but a little concerned that no one knows what that much radiation could cause for the future. Anyway, not losing sleep about it. Just wondering if the resident data folks out there had ever researched it. Thanks for the responses! As always I'm sad we all have to go through our own recovery but happy we are not alone. This will also be a lesson to me to be more clear rather than so wordy! :-)

Wendy, I think a lot of us had this discussion several years ago. It, too, is a subject that I worry about as I have had lots of tests, especially since 2003 to 2004. I know there are probably quite a few of us who had cancer in the past and were given lots of tests. I especially was given a lot of tests because of the side effects from my treatment, including bone scans, etc. Even my oncologist had me stop getting mammograms every 6 months because of the radiation, although from time to time, they "see" something and I receive them every 6 months until cleared. Harvard.edu has had several articles on this. Here is one:


It's kind of a double edged sword, as they said in one article. The old saying - can't live with them and can't live without them - gains new meaning.

Hope your hair grows back soon. I had that with cancer treatment, but I haven't noticed it with the angiograms or angioplasty - but then, I might not ever notice.


Thanks so much Sherri! I just took a look and this is what I was looking for. Hopefully we won't have anything to worry about. I had to laugh at your last line but hope you meant it to be funny. I would feel terrible if you were serious. My sister had a battle with cancer which has stayed in remission and I remember her hair loss. My brother in law is now battling lung cancer and they said he would have hair loss as well. Damned cancer just seems to touch everyone. I wish you the best with your recovery and hope your recovery from the cancer is behind you now.

Thanks, Wendy - I actually was half serious, half joking. One has to laugh at oneself occasionally. Yes, I have been NED for 12 years now - 4 years of treatment which I ended prematurely when I was misdiagnosed with bone cancer. You would think an oncologist would know that broken bones look like bone mets on a bone scan. Treatment gave me the adult version of rickets. 7 broken bones in 6 months. That is behind me, thankfully. Lots of folks have it much worse, so I am grateful. Laughter is good!