Scalp cooling may stop you from losing some, or all, of the hair on your head during chemotherapy. This technique works by reducing the blood flow to the hair follicles, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach them.
How well scalp cooling works depends on the chemotherapy drugs and doses used, and it does not work for everyone. If you do keep your hair, you may find that it’s patchy or thinner.
Scalp cooling is suitable for all hair types, although it may be less effective on Afro hair. You can find more information about scalp cooling and caring for your hair type at coldcap.com
There are two widely available ways of cooling the scalp. One method uses a cold cap, which is a gel-filled hat that is chilled and replaced at regular intervals during your chemotherapy treatment to keep the scalp cool. The other system uses a refrigerated cooling machine to continuously pump a liquid coolant through a single cap.
Both methods involve wearing a cold cap before, during and for one to two hours after your treatment. Increased cooling times may be recommended for different hair types. This may mean you’re at the hospital for longer.
You can ask your treatment team or chemotherapy nurse if scalp cooling is available and whether it would be suitable for you. The condition of your hair and any previous use of chemicals on it may affect how well scalp cooling works. Your chemotherapy nurse will discuss this with you.
Some doctors have been concerned that scalp cooling may increase the risk of developing secondary cancers in the scalp due to the possibility of constricted blood vessels limiting the amount of chemotherapy reaching the area. However, studies looking at people who had scalp cooling during their chemotherapy treatment have found that scalp cooling does not increase the risk of developing secondary breast cancer in the scalp.
Scalp cooling is not suitable if you’re having radiotherapy to treat breast cancer that has spread to the brain, as hair loss can’t be prevented.
Learn more about scalp cooling here
and check out the guide below from Headwrappers.