Lowell General Hospital offers a simple treatment, available for men and women, that can help prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. This new treatment option, available in March of 2019, has proven to be effective in preventing chemotherapy-induced alopecia, or hair loss, and can result in people retaining much of the hair. For patients already emotionally stressed from a cancer diagnosis, it can bring some sense of relief so they may focus on their treatment.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System circulates cooling fluid through a helmet-like cap in order to reduce the temperature of the patient’s scalp during treatments. This practice decreases the susceptibility of hair follicles to chemotherapy-induced damage.
The scalp cooling system is administered by your healthcare professional at the Cancer Center during chemotherapy, has excellent heat extraction technology, making it the most comfortable and tolerable scalp cooling method.
Scalp Cooling FAQs
Many chemotherapy drugs used to treat solid tumor cancers, including taxanes and anthracyclines, cause alopecia, or hair loss. Ask a member of your healthcare team if your specific chemotherapy drugs cause this side effect.
Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Chemotherapy damages hair follicles (at the root of the hair), resulting in hair loss about 2 weeks after the start of chemotherapy.
Scalp cooling reduces the damage that chemotherapy causes to hair follicles. It does this by lowering the temperature of the scalp immediately before, during, and after chemotherapy. This in turn reduces blood flow to the area around the hair follicles, which may prevent or minimize hair loss.
If you choose to have scalp cooling during chemotherapy, you will wear the Paxman Scalp Cooling Cap for 30 minutes pre-infusion, during chemotherapy infusion, and for a maximum of 90 minutes afterward (depending on your therapy).
It is important to continue with scalp cooling each time you go for chemotherapy to get the full benefits of hair preservation.
Hair retention rates are variable, however, since successful scalp cooling depends on many factors such as the chemotherapy regimen and dose, duration of drug infusion, metabolism of the chemotherapy drug, and other conditions. Thousands of patients world-wide have retained their hair using this scalp cooling system.