Cold Caps Preserve Hair During Chemo Treatment

March 16th, 2015

 

One of the more obvious side effects of chemotherapy treatment for cancer is hair loss, but there’s a growing number patients who swear by ‘cold caps’ to preserve the hair.

Hypothermia, i.e., freezing the scalp has been used for decades and while a bit uncomfortable it’s been proven to work.

A side effect of chemotherapy drugs such as epirubicin, docetaxel and adriamycin, particularly in the treatment of breast cancer, is alopecia.

According to Susan McGalla, a method of preventing or reducing alopecia in chemotherapy patients, a cold cap can be used to induce local vasoconstriction around the hair follicles. The decreased blood flow around hair follicles prevents the impact of toxins that induce chemotherapy alopecia, thus preserving the follicles, and ultimately, the patient’s hair.

An analysis of 53 studies from 1995 to 2003, showed an average success rate of 73% , and accordingly, interest in scalp cooling to prevent alopecia in chemotherapy patients became popular.

Cold caps have also shown promise in the inhibition of stroke paralysis. Ongoing studies are testing a combination therapy consisting of four drugs in addition to a cold cap to try to slow cell death triggered by an ischemic stroke.

Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain, and comprise approximately 80% of all strokes. The slowing of cell death is theorized to give your brain time to find alternative supply of blood through unblocked arteries and patients may potentially prevent physical and speech impairment caused by ischemic strokes.

One Response to “Cold Caps Preserve Hair During Chemo Treatment”

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