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Cooling Cap Could Limit Hair Fallout Folllowing Chemotherapy
by April Maguire
We all know that cancer is an incredibly devastating disease. Despite the medical progress made in the last few decades, with researchers constantly finding new ways to battle the illness, chemotherapy still comprises at least some part of the treatment plan for many sufferers. While chemotherapy is an effective way to prevent the spread of cancer cells, the treatment can also wreak havoc on the healthy cells in your body. In addition to potentially harming your intestines, bone marrow and mouth, chemotherapy typically takes a toll on your hair follicles, causing them to stop producing new hair.
For people who are already in the fight of their lives, this hair loss is an unnecessary indignity. Hair loss due to chemotherapy is a visible sign of their struggle, and it can lead to many cancer sufferers feeling self-conscious in public, increasing their anxiety and causing them to withdraw from social activities.
While a surefire cure for cancer may still be years away from becoming a reality, fortunately there may already be a cure for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Recently, medical device companies have been working on cooling caps, such as the Dignicap, which may allow cancer sufferers to better retain their hair throughout treatment.
Keeping Chemotherapy Drugs at Bay
Although chemotherapy drugs are good at fighting cancer, they're not exactly intelligent in the way they go about it. Chemotherapy targets fast-dividing cells and destroys them, which is good news for battling cancer, but bad news for your hair cells, which grow at a faster rate than many of the other cells within your body.
The idea behind cold caps is that by cooling the scalp, you can actually reduce the drugs' ability to interact with your hair follicles. With less of the chemotherapy drugs being absorbed by your scalp, your follicles can remain unharmed, allowing them to continue producing new hair.
Typically, patients report only minimal side effects from using cooling caps. The most common complaints are headaches, both during and immediately following the procedure, as well as discomfort in the shoulders and neck and lingering chills.
Unfortunately, results are still mixed as to how effective cooling caps are at stopping hair loss. The studies thus far have delivered conflicting information, with cooling temperature, duration, the types of drugs, and dosage all playing a factor in the cap's effectiveness. Still, there is sufficient evidence to show that cooling does have some effect on hair loss, only if it means less hair is shed. And as more studies are performed, researchers will likely discover how cooling caps should best be designed and implemented, making chemotherapy-induced hair loss a thing of the past.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!