By Jamelle Singleton
At the age of 33 years old I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and I lost my hair due to four months of chemotherapy treatment. It was one of the most difficult things that I had to deal with in my breast cancer journey. Looking back on my hair journey throughout my life, I have learned many things and now after finishing treatment I have changed the way that I take care of my hair.
As a child, I wore my natural hair and my mom used a straightening comb on the stove to straighten my hair. Then around 15 years old, my mother took me to the hair salon and I got my first relaxer. I continued to get relaxers all the way, until I was diagnosed at the age of 33. Prior to my diagnosis, I had never thought about the chemicals that I was putting in my hair or the damage that those products caused.
After doing some research after I was diagnosed, I came across some articles about how relaxers can cause breast cancer. That is when I decided that I would never get a relaxer again. I do feel like it might have had a part to play in the growth of my cancer.
I had to cut my hair off after my second chemotherapy treatment, that is the first time since I was a teenager that I have worn my natural hair. I must say that I love it! I will never know for sure what caused my cancer but I can be more mindful of the products that I am using for my hair and body. It has also made me check the ingredients and change the products that I use for my daughter’s hair as well.
I am beginning my natural hair journey and I am excited to see how my hair will thrive naturally. I wish that I would have taken people’s advice and stopped getting relaxers sooner but I’m here now embracing and celebrating my natural hair proudly! After my cancer diagnosis I had to change a lot of things about my life. That included taking a look at the ingredients in the products that I was using as well as making better product choices for my hair and body. I’m sure that my body is thankful for it.