Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy face the distressing prospect of losing their hair. But cold cap therapy can reduce hair loss from chemo and help patients feel more like themselves throughout their cancer treatment.
During chemotherapy, the patient wears a special cap that fits tightly to the scalp, explains Kim Hart, NP, a nurse practitioner at Illinois Cancer Specialists in Arlington Heights. The cap is attached to a device that cools the scalp to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The patient puts on the cap 30 minutes before the treatment and continues to wear it up to three hours after the chemotherapy.
Two scalp cooling systems have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with breast, prostate, ovarian and other solid tumor cancers.
The cold temperature reduces blood flow to the hair follicles, making them less susceptible to chemo damage. A 2017 study published in JAMA showed that 66 percent of patients using the cooling caps had hair loss of 50 percent or less.
While the caps can be uncomfortable to wear, they have their benefits, Hart says, as hair loss is a reminder of illness.
“Patients who are motivated to do this treatment tolerate the discomfort with the hope that they will not lose their hair,” Hart says. “People just want to look the same. They don’t want constant reminders that they are on chemotherapy or that they are battling cancer.”
Ultimately, keeping cool can help preserve not just patients’ hair but also their psychological well-being.
Rosie Beckett September 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm
My sister recently found out that she needs to undergo chemotherapy and she is very nervous about losing her hair, so she is thinking about trying a cold cap. You make a great point that a cooping cap will help my sister to keep her hair and she won’t have the constant reminder that she is battling cancer every time that she looks in the mirror. Also, I will make sure that she chooses one of the two scalp cooling systems have been approved by the FDA because this will give me peace of mind that it will be safe for her to us.
williams September 30, 2018 at 7:43 pm
It is one of the best method to reduce chemo hair loss.