Hair loss is common with chemotherapy, and it can affect a patient’s privacy and attitude toward treatment. Some patients may even decline treatment because they’re concerned about losing their hair. Now, there’s something you can do to help breast cancer patients who are treated at the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute maintain their privacy and reduce their stress and anxiety about treatment.
Scalp cooling therapy
Scalp cooling is a new way to reduce the amount of hair lost during chemotherapy treatment. With this technology, a cooling cap worn during treatment at the cancer center circulates cold fluid around the scalp. The cap reduces blood flow to the scalp, which results in less hair loss for many patients.
How it works
- The patient orders a lightweight silicone cap directly from vendor. The vendor ships the cap to the patient’s home within 72 hours of enrollment.
- The cap is connected to a cooling device at the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute. The patient wears the cap for 30 minutes before chemotherapy treatment.
- The patient continues to wear the cap during treatment, and for 60-90 minutes after treatment. The cap is worn for at treatments.
This technology reduces blood flow to the hair follicles by 20-40%, which successfully decreases hair loss for many patients.
“Success” is considered to be 50% or less hair loss. By choosing certain hairstyles, patients may be able to get the desired results even if they lose a portion of their hair.
Safety and side effects
The technology dates to 1997, and several clinical trials have proven it to be safe. The most common side effects are cold discomfort, headache, forehead pain, and dizziness or light-headedness. Many symptoms can be managed by taking pain medication at the time of treatment. Serious side effects are rare.
Scalp cooling overview.