This New Cooling Cap Helps Patients Avoid Hair Loss During Chemo

February 9, 2016 | Elizabeth Knowles

Photo credit: Courtesy of Chemo Cold Caps (TM)

It helps patients stay mentally positive and confident.

Chemotherapy patients go through enough — more than enough in fact. It just seems especially cruel that hair loss is one of the many side effects of the treatment. Losing hair can make some patients feel like they've lost part of their identity, but a company called Chemo Cold Caps has an innovative solution that could help. What do they propose? Caps worn on a patient’s head, cooled with dry ice that will reduce hair loss.

Liz Cronin and her husband started the company after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As many people who receive a cancer diagnosis do, they began researching anything they could do to make the ordeal easier. They came across information that suggested that properly cooling your scalp could really help with hair loss.

“When we realized this works we were both a bit amazed and also a bit annoyed. Amazed that something so beneficial to a cancer patient was so unknown, and at the same time annoyed as we had to find out about it in such an offhand way,” says the couple on their website.

SEE ALSO: Medicine in “Invisibility Cloak” Kills Drug-Resistant Cancer with 50x Less Chemo

As a survivor, Cronin now wants to pass on her method to others:  “Basically, anything that you will need to maximize your chances for success we will provide for you. We do this because we found that the benefits of using cold caps was so great while the process of getting them and then finding everything else that was needed was really pretty difficult.”

How do the caps work? They are cooled down to about  -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 degrees Celsius) which constricts the blood vessels leading the chemo drugs to the scalp and prevents them from damaging the hair follicles. To be effective, they have to be worn for almost an hour before the treatment begins, during the entire treatment, and for three hours after it is over.

According to their website, the caps should not be used with certain types of cancer — leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphomas, and melanoma — or for patients with cold sensitivity, cold agglutinin disease, cryoglobulinemia, cryofibrinogenemia and cold traumatic dystrophy.

Is keeping your hair really worth over $650 per month (the cost of renting the equipment)? That has to be a personal choice. But if you think so and you’re going through chemotherapy, by all means, check out this company:

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