Derbyshire has been producing diaries since she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of July, to try to help demystify the treatment. Her third one was recorded across November and December.
Speaking on 1 December, she explains: “It’s now six days since the second chemotherapy session and I’m at the stage where I’m feeling a little dispirited.
“One of the things that I’m finding difficult to come to terms with is losing my hair. I would say I have lost about 30-50% of it.”
Derbyshire pauses, before taking off her wig to reveal a depleted head of hair, cut above the shoulders.
It is the first time the journalist has made this public. She takes a deep breath, and – with her voice breaking up – says in a quiet tone: “I am finding this hard.”
The potential hair loss, along with other side-effects of chemotherapy, was first discussed with her by an oncologist before her treatment began.
Different forms of chemotherapy result in varying levels of hair loss. Some do not cause any loss at all, or only slight thinning.
She was warned, however, that the adjuvant chemotherapy she would be having – designed to help stop cancer coming back or spreading to other parts of the body – usually leads to the loss of “all the hair on your head”.