When it comes to the side effects of breast cancer treatment, many women fear losing their hair the most. A popular new process could stop that from happening. Cancer patients are opting for the chemo “cold cap.” What is it? It’s a cap you wear during treatment and a few hours after that freezes the scalp and stops hair from falling out.
A study at the University of California, San Francisco monitored 100 women who received chemotherapy and used a cooling cap. Results have not been published, but studies did show that a majority of the women kept most of their hair. How does it work? The cold cap reduces chemotherapy-induced alopecia (hair loss) by cooling the hair capillaries and reducing the metabolic rate of the hair follicles to a hibernated state, preventing the absorption of chemotherapeutic drugs into the hair bulbs of the scalp.
The process can be costly, averaging around $600 per month for rental of the caps. Most insurers do not cover the cost, but there have been cases where cooling caps are covered in lieu of wig costs.
To read the complete New York Times article on chemo cooling caps, click here.