Are Cooling Caps the Solution to Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy?

Excerpt:

“Hair loss—one of the most-feared side effects of cancer treatment—may have met its match. Scientists have known since the 80s that cooling a person’s scalp can prevent significant hair loss during chemotherapy. A cooling device called DigniCap was approved for women with breast cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015. This cap was tested in a clinical trial at UCLA led by Dr. Sara Hurvitz, director of hematology and oncology breast cancer program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Two studies published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the cap was effective; results showed that women lost less than 50 percent of their hair. The trial Hurvitz participated in paved the way for physicians to help people with cancer overcome one of the most visible signs of treatment.”

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Scalp-Cooling Device Cuts Hair Loss in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Excerpt:

“While nothing easy or simple comes from a cancer diagnosis, one of the most traumatic experiences for breast cancer patients, particularly for women, is hair loss. Dr. Julie Nangia, assistant professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center within the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, sees this all too frequently when treating her patients.

” ‘Hair loss takes a tremendous toll on the patient’s body image, and they no longer have the anonymity of hiding the disease; everyone can see that they’re sick,’ said Nangia. ‘Patients and physicians have been hoping and searching for methods or therapies to prevent or reduce hair loss due to chemotherapy, but the options have been very limited due to the complexity of both the disease and the treatment.’

“Nangia may have found the answer in research presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which details the results of a study using a scalp cooling cap to reduce hair loss in breast cancer patients undergoing taxane or anthracycline chemotherapy.”

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FDA Clears Cold Cap to Save Hair during Breast Cancer Chemo

“Hair loss is one of the most despised side effects of chemotherapy, and now breast cancer patients are getting a new way to save their locks.

“The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it would allow marketing of the DigniCap to chill patients’ scalps—using a cap connected to a cooling machine—as they receive chemo. A study found it significantly reduced .

“The near-freezing temperature is supposed to reduce blood flow in the scalp, making it harder for cancer-fighting drugs to reach and harm hair follicles.”


Keeping Your Hair in Chemo

“Hair loss is one of the most obvious side effects of cancer treatment. Now, a growing number of breast cancer patients are freezing their scalps as a way to preserve their hair during chemotherapy.

“The hair-saving treatment, widely used in Europe, requires a specialized frozen cap worn tightly on the head before, during and for a couple hours after a chemotherapy session. The method can be time consuming, expensive and uncomfortable, but numerous women swear by the results.

“ ‘I had the wig ready, but I never had to use it,’ said Eileen Bruno, 50, of Westwood, N.J., who last year completed chemotherapy and cold cap treatment while maintaining her full head of thick, blond hair.

“After learning that she had early-stage breast cancer, Ms. Bruno said she worried about her health – and losing her hair.”


'Cold Caps' May Save Cancer Patients' Hair During Chemotherapy

To minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, some patients chill their scalps using specialized caps. The low temperatures are supposed to decrease blood flow in the scalp, preventing chemotherapy drugs from reaching the hair roots and damaging them. However, it is still unclear how well these ‘cold caps’ work and whether they are safe, and so far they have not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. Theoretically, shielding some areas of the body from chemotherapy might allow some cancer cells to survive the treatment, although the scalp is an uncommon site for cancer recurrence. An upcoming study at several U.S. hospitals will investigate the effectiveness and safety of cold caps to prevent chemotherapy hair loss.


'Cold Caps' May Save Cancer Patients' Hair During Chemotherapy

To minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, some patients chill their scalps using specialized caps. The low temperatures are supposed to decrease blood flow in the scalp, preventing chemotherapy drugs from reaching the hair roots and damaging them. However, it is still unclear how well these ‘cold caps’ work and whether they are safe, and so far they have not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. Theoretically, shielding some areas of the body from chemotherapy might allow some cancer cells to survive the treatment, although the scalp is an uncommon site for cancer recurrence. An upcoming study at several U.S. hospitals will investigate the effectiveness and safety of cold caps to prevent chemotherapy hair loss.


'Cold Caps' May Save Cancer Patients' Hair During Chemotherapy

To minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, some patients chill their scalps using specialized caps. The low temperatures are supposed to decrease blood flow in the scalp, preventing chemotherapy drugs from reaching the hair roots and damaging them. However, it is still unclear how well these ‘cold caps’ work and whether they are safe, and so far they have not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. Theoretically, shielding some areas of the body from chemotherapy might allow some cancer cells to survive the treatment, although the scalp is an uncommon site for cancer recurrence. An upcoming study at several U.S. hospitals will investigate the effectiveness and safety of cold caps to prevent chemotherapy hair loss.