Cold Caps Allows Patients To Keep Hair During Chemotherapy
– March 07, 2018
Do blondes really have more fun? Kerry Kinsella put the old adage to the test as she dyed her hair bright blond shortly before beginning chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. She figured if she was going to lose her hair, she may as well go out in style. But, after six rounds of treatment, her golden locks are still in place thanks to The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System, an FDA-approved device for patients undergoing chemotherapy to reduce hair loss.
It feels like a 30-minute brain freeze and then the scalp kind of goes numb, says Kinsella, who is among the first 20 patients to use DigniCap at Moffitt Cancer Center. And thats before chemotherapy even begins. But the results are worth it. After several months of treatment, Kinsella saw only some thinning and shedding on top of her head.
DigniCap works by reducing the temperature of the scalp, which reduces the blood flow there. This means less chemotherapy reaches the hair cells and the cellular metabolism within the hair cells slows down.
Amy Bucciarelli, an oncology nurse at Moffitt, says the DigniCap gives patients a choice that can be empowering. Many women experience a loss of body image with breast cancer, and losing their hair can add insult to injury, she says. DigniCap gives women a sense of hope and gives them some control over cancer.
Moffitt offers DigniCap to breast cancer patients at its McKinley and International Plaza locations.
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Besides medications, the treatment for hair loss can also include a hair transplant. In this procedure, small pieces of the scalp containing hair follicles are transferred to the bald areas. The surgery can be risky because it involves the usual risks of surgery, including shock and pain. Furthermore, it is expensive and is often not covered by insurance. But if you dont want to live with a bald area thats affecting your confidence and your appearance, hair transplant surgery may be the right option.
If the baldness is caused by a fungal infection, you can consider undergoing a hair transplant. In this procedure, tiny pieces of scalp are removed and moved to the bald spots. Despite the risks, this procedure is highly effective and is often covered by health insurance plans. A hair transplant can cost thousands of dollars, and you will most likely need to pay a large part of it out of pocket. The only downside to hair transplant surgery is the high cost.
Although alopecia is an embarrassing problem for many people, it can also be caused by trauma. People who undergo painful procedures on their hair may be at risk for traumatizing alopecia. This condition often results in thinning or falling hair. In some cases, the scalp becomes red and the scalp can even become inflamed. Antibiotics and antimalarial drugs may also be prescribed to help treat this disorder.
Hair Loss And Cancer Treatment
If treatment will cause hair loss, try wearing fun scarves and earringsor a cap, from time to time.
Some types of chemotherapy cause the hair on your head and other parts of your body to fall out. Radiation therapy can also cause hair loss on the part of the body that is being treated. Hair loss is called alopecia. Talk with your health care team to learn if the cancer treatment you will be receiving causes hair loss. Your doctor or nurse will share strategies that have help others, including those listed below.
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The Dignicap Hair Preservation Method Is Capable Of Preventing Just About All Hair Loss From Chemotherapy
In some patients. You dont know if youll be one of the lucky ones.
There is no data on what percentage of patients who use DigniCap® retain most of their hair, let alone all of it.
On the other hand, I cant see how youd ever regret giving this cooling system a try.
The FDA approves DigniCap® for helping prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.
Silicone cooling cap that snuggly fits the head, connected to a computer operated control and cooling unit.
Coolant circulates through the caps channels continuously, cooling the scalp.
Sensors ensure that optimal temperature is maintained at all times throughout chemo.
Scalp temperature is cooled enough to prevent the hair follicles from absorbing chemo drugs via blood supply. Cell metabolism is reduced.
DigniCap® has been in use for over a decade.
The Best Candidates For Scalp Cooling
Men and women undergoing chemotherapy for solid tumors may be candidates for scalp coolingas long as they can tolerate the cold, says Manpreet Kohli, MD, Director of Breast Surgery at Monmouth Medical Center.
The technique may not work as well with certain chemotherapy regimens, though. For instance, it doesnt appear to be as effective for patients receiving drug anthracycline.
Talk to your medical oncologist to find out if you might benefit from scalp cooling.
For more information about cancer treatment at Monmouth Medical Center visit The Leon Hess Cancer Center.
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Chemotherapy Hair Loss Regrowth
Hair regrowth after chemotherapy may be slower than usual. To support your hair follicles in order to regrow healthy hair, you need to make specific lifestyle changes. On top of it, having patience is essential because chemotherapy-induced hair loss regrowth does not happen in a fortnight.
Follow a consistent healthy routine for six months to see an overwhelming change in your hair growth.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Herbal hair care helps release the stress in your hair follicles after chemotherapy. Regular head massage with essential oils stimulates blood circulation in your scalp tissues and activates your hair regrowth.”
When Your Hair Starts To Come Out
Focus on self-care. Wash your hair as little as possible, and use gentle products. Take care of your scalp. Wear a hat or scarf to protect it from heat and cold, and apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 every day. And if your scalp itches or feels sensitive, go easy with your brush or comb. Avoid rollers, hair dryers, and irons. You can also style your hair with your fingers instead.
If chemo-related hair loss triggers tough emotions, be gentle with yourself. Some people going through this feel depressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, or a combination of emotions. This may be something you want to discuss in a support group or with a counselor who works with people dealing with cancer. Give yourself room to feel and work through whatever comes up.
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How To Use The Paxman Scalp Cooling System
If youre interested in using the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, talk with your healthcare provider before your first chemotherapy treatment. They will sign you up and Paxman will send you your cooling cap and kit. You will receive it in 3 to 4 days.
Its important that you get ready for your scalp cooling treatment before your first appointment. Your nurse will connect your cap to the cooling machine, but you will need to prepare your hair and fit your cap on your head.
To learn how to get ready for your Paxman scalp cooling treatment, watch the videos on the Paxman website at www.coldcap.com.
After you watch the videos, practice getting your hair ready and fitting your cap. You may need some help from a caregiver, friend, or family member. You may also bring someone to your appointment with you.
Remember to bring your cap and kit with you to your appointment.
Eyebrows Eyelashes And Make
With some chemotherapies, people might also lose their eyebrows and eyelashes. Make-up, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner or false eyelashes can help, and many cancer support groups have workshops to help patients learn these techniques.
For example, the charity Look Good Feel Better holds free skincare and make-up workshops and masterclasses across the UK for women undergoing treatment for cancer.
Find cancer support services near you.
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Head Massage With Essential Oils
A. Take ten drops of peppermint essential oil and mix it in a carrier oil like coconut oil.
B. Dilute five drops of Jatamansi essential oil into the solution.
C. Apply it on your scalp uniformly by spreading it all over with a gentle head massage.
D. Massage the scalp with your fingertips for 15-20 minutes.
E. Follow the head massage technique regularly for a few months to replenish your hair follicles.
Looking After Your Hair During Breast Cancer Treatment
The following tips may be helpful for all hair types during treatment:
- try not to wash your hair for about two days after chemotherapy, especially if having scalp cooling
- use a mild, unperfumed shampoo and conditioner
- try not to wash your hair more than twice a week
- use warm rather than hot water
- pat your hair dry rather than rubbing it
- brush or comb your hair gently with a soft hairbrush or wide tooth plastic comb
- avoid plaiting or braiding it as this may damage your hair
- avoid using elastic bands to tie back long hair
- avoid any hair colours and dyes, perms, relaxers and other products containing strong chemicals
- avoid products containing alcohol, such as hairspray, which can irritate the scalp
- avoid excessive heat from hair straighteners, hairdryers, hot brushes and heated rollers
- massaging the scalp may help by improving the blood supply to the hair follicles
- avoid hair extensions and weaves as these can also weaken the hair
If chemotherapy doesnt cause hair loss, it may make it brittle, dry or straw-like, so its a good idea to treat your hair as gently as possible. Hormone therapy can also cause the hair to thin and feel fragile.
Due to its structure, African and Caribbean hair is the most vulnerable to damage of all hair textures so it is recommended to take special care and use specific products.
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Dermatologist’s Mineral Makeup For Chemotherapy
I love my Baked Bronze Mineral Eye Makeup Trio. It is baked on terra cotta tiles in Italy and has the most lovely texture. When used dry, it is soft and covers well. When you dip the tip of your brush in clean water and apply the powder wet, it works like eyeliner and other moist eye makeups but without the preservatives.
To help me keep a vital and glowing complexion – against all odds – during chemo, I use my Baked Mineral Makeup Foundation Powder and my Loose Mineral Blush. I conceal my chemo under-eye circles with a shade that is slightly more yellow than my skin tone . I apply my skin tone shade over it and then top the shadow of the crease with a slightly lighter shade . Yes, that’s 3 colors, but I’m on chemo so I get 3.
Here is the lovely and cruelty-free makeup brush set that I use. It rolls up nicely in the cotton roll, making it easy to travel with for the weekend trips my husband and I are taking right now. Click here to see all of my mineral makeup. I love my mineral makeup collection – it’s beautiful, hypoallergenic and created with just the pure beauty of the earth – no chemicals or dyes.
I’m almost done with chemo and hopefully my little eyebrow and lash follicles will hang in there. At least I’ve enjoyed an extra three months more than the norm with the ability to use eye makeup, look pretty much like myself, and feel pretty while I’m on chemotherapy.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Cold Cap Therapy Can Reduce Hair Loss Caused By Chemotherapy
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How effective is cold cap therapy in preventing hair loss in people undergoing chemotherapy treatments? Are there any risks?
ANSWER: Using a cold cap can significantly reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy. Although some minor side effects may occur, no serious side effects have been associated with cold caps. Some have questioned whether cold caps might prevent chemotherapy from reaching cancer cells in the scalp. But that risk appears to be low.
Chemotherapy works by killing rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells. But chemotherapy cant tell the difference between cancer cells and other normal cells that also divide quickly, such as those in hair follicles. When chemotherapy attacks the hair follicles, it causes the hair to fall out.
In some cases, chemotherapy may only lead to thinning hair. In others, it makes all of a persons hair fall out. For example, studies have shown that most of the chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer cause almost total hair loss in most patients.
While losing your hair may sound like a small price to pay for preventing cancer from coming back, its a side effect thats often hard to take. Not only can losing your hair be tough on your self-image, its also a vivid and constant reminder of a cancer diagnosis.
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How Long Does Scalp Cooling Take During Treatment
Scalp cooling will add time before and after each of your chemotherapy treatments. How long you need to cool before and after your treatment depends on the type of cooling cap youre using and your chemotherapy. It can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours. If youre using frozen caps, you can go back home with your cold cap on to finish your cooling.
Once you finish each chemotherapy treatment, you may be asked to finish your cooling in a separate area outside the chemotherapy infusion unit so that other patients can get treatment during the day.
Your healthcare team will answer your questions about how long cooling will take after treatments.
Who Experiences Hair Loss
Not every person will lose his or her hair during cancer care. In fact, two patients taking the same medication may experience different hair-loss side effects. One patient may lose hair, while another doesnt. If alopecia does occur, the extent of hair loss varies widely depending on the type, dosage, frequency and method of treatment, as well as other individual factors.
In some cases, the hair may fall out, but become thin, dull and dry. When hair loss occurs, hair may fall out gradually, quickly, in clumps or entirely. The scalp may also feel tender or itchy beforehand.
Most hair loss is temporary, and hair will grow back after cancer treatment ends. Hair generally grows back within three months after chemotherapy ends and three to six months after radiation ends. Sometimes hair re-growth begins even before therapy is complete. Its common for hair to grow back a slightly different color and texture at first.
Baldness drug treatments, such as minoxidil, are not proven to be consistently effective to reduce or prevent hair loss caused by cancer treatment. In some cases, cooling caps, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for some patients, may help to protect hair cells from chemotherapy drugs. Cooling caps are designed to work by constricting cells, making it more difficult for the drugs to penetrate, and by reducing cellular activity in the hair follicles, making them a less likely target for chemotherapy drugs.
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