Hair loss as a result of chemotherapy is one of the most feared side effects of cancer treatment, a fear that causes as many as 8% of patients to refuse chemotherapy. Scalp cooling can reduce hair loss significantly during chemotherapy treatment and is available across the world, and widely in the UK.
What is scalp cooling?
Paxman Scalp Cooling provides controlled and simple-to-use cooling with the use of a custom refrigeration unit and connected cap. A scalp cooling therapy begins with the measurement and adjustment of the “cold cap” on the patient’s head. This is to ensure the scalp remains at an even, constant cool temperature throughout the treatment to minimise hair loss.
The cap is connected to the scalp cooling machine, essentially a refrigerated device that allows a liquid coolant to be circulated around the specially designed cap. This enables the scalp temperature to be reduced, which helps to prevent damage to the hair follicles in several ways.
Firstly, by reducing the temperature of the scalp, vasoconstriction occurs, which significantly reduces blood flow (to as little as 40%) and means that less of the drug will reach the hair follicles; secondly, the cooling process causes the rapidly dividing hair cells to become dormant, meaning they stop dividing, so that any chemo drugs that do reach the scalp will bypass the hair follicles.
A session consists of 30 minutes of cooling immediately before chemotherapy begins, throughout the entire chemotherapy infusion and around 90 minutes after the completion of the drug infusion. In many cases, this allows for more than half the hair volume to be retained.
Paxman Scalp Cooling helps make a real difference to chemotherapy patients' lives in addressing this impactful side effect of cancer treatment. Find out more and where the treatment is available here