A new process called cold cap therapy is helping more cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy.
“We have a lot of medication that can help alleviate most of the side effects [of chemo],” said Dr. Saranya Chumsri. “But hair loss is one of the most dreadful side effects of chemotherapy that there is no medication that can prevent that.”
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say hair loss treatment changed recently with cold cap therapy.
“Cold cap works by constricting blood vessels and it helps limit how much chemotherapy flow to the hair follicle,” said Chumsri. “It helps prevent hair loss during the chemotherapy treatment.”
Chumsri says the cold cap is put on the patient about 30 minutes to an hour before chemotherapy begins and cooled down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The patient keeps it on through the chemotherapy treatment and another few hours after it’s finished, depending on the chemotherapy regimen.
“Being able to retain hair during the chemotherapy, they can go on their normal life and able to have better quality of life, better self-image during the treatment,” stated Chumsri.
Some studies have shown as many as two-thirds of patients who tried cold were able to retain at least 50 percent of their hair.