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Cold Caps and Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Posted 12/15/2016

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  I have written before about the new cold caps that, if worn during a chemotherapy infusion, may reduce hair loss. The studies have been with women receiving breast cancer treatment, but there is no reason that they won't work similarly for other situations. A little history: Perhaps twenty years ago there was a similar product that was quite short-lived, It gave women bad headaches, raised some worries re reducing blood flow to the scalp, and didn't work.

  There are a couple of new products available: Cold Cap and DigniCap. A study was presented at the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Meetings; the report was the 50% of the women who used the caps during infusions experienced less hair loss. As you would expect, it matters what drug someone is getting--e.g. the caps work much better for Taxol than for Adria. Other downsides include the increased time required during any one infusion, usually about an hour, and the cost that can be upwards of $1000 and not generally covered by insurance.

  Here is a report from 

'Cold Caps' May Halt Hair Loss in Breast Cancer Patients: Study

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Cooling the scalp with a specialized cap during chemotherapy
sessions could help breast cancer patients avoid treatment-related hair loss, new research suggests.
In a clinical trial involving women with early stage breast cancer, just over half who underwent scalpcooling
throughout at least four cycles of chemotherapy retained their hair, though some thinning may
have occurred.
"When you lose your hair, everyone knows you're sick and looks at you differently," said study author Dr.
Julie Rani Nangia, explaining the potential impact of cold cap use.
Nangia is an assistant professor of medicine at the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of
Medicine in Houston.
The study was funded by the manufacturer of the cold caps, Paxman Cooling. The devices are known as
the Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System. The company is now seeking U.S. Food and Drug
Administration clearance for their cold caps.

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