It's difficult to go through life without being touched by cancer in some capacity, whether you are personally struck by the disease or have a loved one or friend who is. A cancer diagnosis is both devastating and life-altering. Cancer steals time and leaves scares, both visible and invisible. The treatments can sometimes feel worse than the disease and can include side effects ranging from fatigue to pain to nausea and vomiting and so much more.
One particularly devastating side effect is hair loss. While hair loss is devastating to both men and women, it is particularly difficult for women. The psychosocial effects associated with hair loss can include depression, anxiety, poor body image, low self-esteem and poor self-image.
It is assumed that once treatment ends, hair will regrow. For many women, this is unfortunately not the case. Taxotere (docetaxel) is an intravenous injection manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis. It is primarily used to treat breast cancer and is a popular treatment option because of it's convenient injection schedule. However, one of the side effects of Taxotere can be permanent hair loss, also known as alopecia. In fact, many women did not see hair regrowth for more than ten years after completing their treatment.
I'm sure you can imagine how utterly devastating such a side effect would be. You've won your battle with cancer, and all you want to do is go back to your life pre-diagnosis. Yet, now, you have a constant reminder of all the pain and suffering you endured by the lack of hair for the rest of your life.
What is truly reprehensible about all of this is that the manufacturer has known about this side effect for years, allegedly since the 19990's. Yet, this side effect was hidden from patients and their families in order to boost sales and make a profit. You know you have a problem when the makers of a drug are more interested in the dollar than in helping already suffering patients. Cancer is horrible enough? Why prolong the suffering?