I thought this article in the New York Times was really interesting? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/science/gray-hair-stress.html?algo=identity&fellback=false&imp_id=298772027&imp_id=24402129&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage It discusses new research related to melanocytes/stress/hair color. I had not developed any grey hair prior to medical problems and we don’t have a lot of grey hair in our family. My mother at 76 still has most of her natural hair color. My sister who is five years older has three grey hairs. But after the stress of the last three years plus brain radiation twice I have at least three hundred grey (regular texture) and white (coarser) hairs. All new. Often the same hair will change color visibly on the same strand. I cut my hair really short prior to surgery so it usually new growth.
- February 3, 2020 at 5:23 am
So, we all have problems with melanocytes? Do you have grey hair? Do you think it is from stress? Treatment? Radiation?
sjParticipantI’m 37 in a few months. My father had a full head of grey hair by the time he was 19 years of age. I’m getting there, but I’m nearly twice the age he was and I would say my ratio is 5 black hairs to 1 grey hair at the moment.
- February 3, 2020 at 2:55 pm
In saying that though, since the diagnosis in January I do think I have a load of more grey hairs than I did in December.
lkbParticipantMost of my hair is brown, but there is now an explicit white/gray section at the tavo injection sites; the timing correlates. I also have a little bit of white in the front next to my hairline which might have appeared anyway at age 59. I have no white/gray hair where I had a single dose of radiation on side of my head opposite the tavo . Too, I have vitiligo–including white lashes and white brows–probably from Pembro. Not discounting stress, but in my case, it’s one of many factors.
- February 3, 2020 at 10:59 pm
MelMelParticipantI think it is definitely in response to immunotherapy. Prior to my diagnosis in Oct. 2018, I was 30-40% grey. Within 6-10 months of starting my combo therapy, I became 85% grey and it started with my eyebrows and eyelashes.
- February 4, 2020 at 6:24 am
Here is a link which specifically talks about this.
“We start to see the depigmentation six months to one year after initiating therapy,” said Dr. Anna Pavlick, director of the melanoma program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, who has treated 48 patients with ipilimumab or tremelimumab.
“We have 17 out of those 48 patients that have either complete or partial response to the therapy, which is pretty damn good,” said Pavlick, who is presenting her findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.
We have nine of those patients who have complete depigmentation of their hair. Those nine patients have had complete response radiologically,” she said.
“I’m pretty confident to say if patients start to develop depigmentation after six to 12 months, they are going to have a durable response.”
Pavlick said that when patients were asked about their hair turning white, their stories were all the same.
It always starts in the eyebrows. It goes from the eyebrows to the crown of the hair, assuming they have hair there. If they don’t, it usually starts with their sideburns,” she said. “To me it’s a healing sign.”
Pavlick said it was unclear why patients who respond to the drugs so well lose all of the pigment in their hair. Her team is studying this in hopes of finding ways for more melanoma patients to benefit.
Hope this helps.
jennifer83ParticipantSo interesting. I’m 36… not a gray hair in sight until I started my ipi/nivo therapy. I just completed my fourth round of treatment and this morning, I noticed several gray eyelashes when I was putting on my mascara! I thought it was so bizarre… gray EYELASHES?! Then I see this post.
- February 4, 2020 at 1:29 pm
GeoTonyParticipantI’m 60 this August, within 3 mths of starting ipi/nivo my limited hair, male pattern baldness, actually got thicker and slightly darker, while my eyebrows/beard turned totally white, that was over 3 years ago, since then the hair on my head is starting to revert back to speckled grey, but my eyebrows/beard are still ‘stiff’ white hairs, a weird side effect that i can live with.
- February 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm
BubblesParticipantFor all of you, as was noted vitiligo (loss of pigment to hair and skin) is a most positive sign when it comes to surviving melanoma! Here are lots of reports if you are interested :
- February 4, 2020 at 7:52 pm
The link includes reports that are scientific as well as personal. Here’s to a whiter shade of pale! celeste
Gene_SParticipantMy husband when he started treatment have very little grey hair and he was 56 years old. He started his Clinical Trial of Ipi (10 mg/kg) and GMCSF daily injections. His eyebrows started turning white and his oncologist said it was great news and that it meant it was working and he also lost pigmentation in his skin down to his collar bone. He had lots of stress from the cancer, 5 retina surgeries which left him blind in that eye and glaucoma. His daughter had cervical cancer and later developed colon cancer and cancer of the peritoneum and unfortunately passed. Her husband passed 22 months later. He still have very little grey hair and the only white hair is in his eyebrows and beard and this is 11 years later. He has been NED for over 7 years.
- February 6, 2020 at 3:01 pm
Judy the loving wife of Gene Stage IV and NED for over 7 years
guynamedbillyParticipantI’m 35. Because of the immunotherapy my eyebrows, eyelashes, most of my facial hair and about a third of my body hair has turned white. My scalp still has some dark hair, but it’s definitely grayed a lot too. If you are doing immunotherapy they view this as a good sign that your body is responding to treatment.
- February 8, 2020 at 2:42 pm
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