By Teresa Bell Kindred – www.Nanahood.com
You may already know about the cold cap therapy treatments that allow chemo patients to keep their hair, but I didn’t until I read about them this week.
The article I read (CBS News) was about a breast cancer patient whose husband had heard about the treatment from friends in Europe. Supposedly it helped prevent chemo-related hair loss through the use of a scalp cooling cap. Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City was involved in a clinical trial on the device, known as the DigniCap System, which is worn by a patient during chemotherapy transfusions.
According to the DigniCap folks, “Some chemotherapy drugs will damage your hair cells. Scalp cooling protects these cells, and ultimately your hair, by reducing the concentration of chemotherapy being delivered to your scalp area. The DigniCap® System (a refrigerated cooling system), pumps liquid coolant through a cap that is attached to the system to lower to scalp temperature. The cold gives reduced perfusion, delivery of blood, and metabolism. The reduced blood flow gives a smaller amount of chemotherapy available for uptake in the cells and the decreased temperature results in less absorption and reduced effects of chemotherapy. These factors together reduce the risk of hair loss.”
Hair is just hair….until it’s not there
No one likes losing their hair to chemo. In many studies hair loss is one of the top concerns of women who are told they will need chemotherapy. According to the CBS News article women who use the cooling cap lose just 25 percent of their hair. There are some patients who lose more and a lucky handful who lost no hair at all.
If there is a way that the people can keep at least part of their hair, and there is a safe treatment for them to do so, then I applaud those who invented this and hope they can find a way to get it FDA approved here in the U.S. (it isn’t yet).
You can actually rent these caps according to Breastcancer.org The rental fee is about $580 per month plus a $500 deposit.
There may be financial aid available to help with part of the cost. Read about the Rapunzel Project to learn more.