Saving hair during chemotherapy.
A simple and effective hair-retention approach helps people with breast cancer maintain confidence during chemotherapy.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women after skin cancer and can also affect men, too. For many who will receive chemotherapy as part of their treatment, scalp cooling therapy can help them retain their hair. Keeping hair is not about vanity – it's about the preservation of self and identity. By helping people interact with the world on their terms, instead of feeling like they "look sick" they are able to maintain confidence.
1 in 8 women and 1 in 883 men will have breast cancer in their lifetime. Chemotherapy is often used for aggressive forms of early stage breast cancers, as well as most advanced stage disease.
Scalp cooling therapy reduces the psychological toll of chemotherapy.
Using scalp cooling therapy to retain hair can help offset common feelings in people receiving chemotherapy. For many, hair loss is tied to:
Loss of privacy: Hair loss emphasizes illness
Social isolation: Uncomfortable in social settings
Loss of self-esteem: Individuals feel they don't look like themselves
Hair loss is a significant cause of distress.
47% of people say hair loss would be the most traumatic part of breast cancer.
8% of people would reject chemotherapy to avoid hair loss.
Scalp cooling keeps chemotherapy drugs from affecting hair.
- During chemotherapy, patients wear a special cap connected to a machine that circulates coolant
- The cap chills the scalp to 63-67˚ Fahrenheit
- The cap is worn for at least 30 minutes before chemotherapy, during treatment, and for 60-90 minutes after
- Blood vessels in scalp constrict from cold, keeping chemo drugs from reaching hair follicles
- Effective and FDA-approved for use during chemotherapy for breast cancer and many other cancers
50-60% of people retained half or more of their hair with scalp cooling therapy
Produced by Mayo Clinic. Sources: mayoclinic.org; theoncologynurse.com; cancer.net