You’ve either heard, seen or experienced it: Chemo-related hair loss. For many women, it’s the toughest part of cancer. It’s an announcement of your health status. People will freely ask you, “What kind of cancer do you have?” Now there’s a buzz about a new treatment in the U.S. that may help keep your private details of cancer hair loss from the public eye.
It’s been dubbed “the cold cap” and has been used in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada for years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any of the caps used in other countries. Now U.S. researchers are experimenting with this hair-preserving treatment for those undergoing chemo. This summer, researchers in the U.S. will begin enrolling 110 early-stage breast cancer patients to participate in a study of the brand DigniCap.
The cap is so cold that it numbs the scalp during chemotherapy. Near-freezing temperatures of the cap are said to reduce the blood flow in the scalp. With such low temperatures, the hair follicles are more difficult to harm by the drugs used in chemo, a drug that effects all fast growing cells—both healthy and cancerous ones.
I wonder if the cap, being so cold, creates any headaches for the patient. Ever eat ice cream too fast? During chemo, I was frequently very cold. With a cold cap, will it be standard for the patient to get warm blankets, too? I’ve read that patients keep much of their hair. Does that mean it gets real thin, but doesn’t all fall out? So many things to wait and learn.
Have you or anyone you know used a cold cap? What are your thoughts about them?
- Cold caps tested to prevent hair loss during chemo (fresnobee.com)