Chemotherapy takes a physical and emotional toll on breast cancer patients. However, one piece of simple but innovative technology is helping ease one of the most hated chemo side effects: hair loss.
What Is Cold Cap Therapy?
Cold caps are exactly what their name suggests. The caps are shaped like a helmet and equipped with gel that can be cooled to negative 22 degrees. The cap can be worn before, during, and after treatments to help prevent hair loss.
While the caps can be expensive, they can be rented for the period of time they're needed and efforts are being made to lease the caps to hospitals for patients to use.
How Does Cold Cap Therapy Work?
Scalp cooling is a method for keeping hair intact during chemo that has been tested for years. The idea is that cooling the scalp will dramatically slow the rate of blood absorption, lowering the amount of chemo chemicals that make their way to the scalp and hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. The scalp is cooled gradually, starting before the chemo treatment, and stays cooled throughout the treatment.
Does Cold Cap Therapy Actually Work?
According to trials, yes, but cold cap therapy isn't 100 percent effective. Breastcancer.org shares information about cold caps as a resource for chemotherapy patients and notes that the caps are considered highly effective, keeping most of the hair, for just over half of all patients who use them. Over 2/3 of patients kept at least half of their hair throughout their chemotherapy treatments.
Are There Any Concerns?
When cold caps were introduced, there was some concern that blocking chemicals from reaching the scalp could prevent the chemotherapy from attacking stray cancer cells there. However, the FDA is now stating that the likelihood of that happening is so rare that it shouldn't stop patients from using the caps. The FDA has recently deemed the DigniCap as a safe option for patients.
As with any new product or therapy solution, there are some side effects to take into consideration. Some patients have noted headaches, discomfort, and mild pain from the cold.
Rescue Your Hair, Build Your Confidence
For many cancer patients and survivors, maintaining a healthy appearance is a way to keep dignity and confidence intact. The Salon by Lora Brown can cut and style your wigs, and cut, color and style your hair to make it appear full, healthy, and naturally beautiful.
Lora Brown is a master stylist and the owner of The Salon by Lora Brown. She has worked in the salon industry for 30 years.