The secret to keeping your hair with chemo

Published: 07 Dec 2016

Most people go through chemo treatment resigned to the fact that they are going to lose their hair.  For many the thought of losing hair is extremely distressing.   It could be they don’t want their children to know anything’s wrong. For others’ it’s about retaining some kind of control over their cancer.  Some people want to avoid work colleagues or customers knowing they have cancer and many simply want to stay looking good. 

The secret your oncologist probably won't tell you

Oncologist are more interested in treating the cancer than worrying about the patients fears of hair loss following chemo.  And quite rightly so...they have a critical job to perform and to them it’s solely about reducing or eradicating the cancer cells.  But what they often fail to appreciate is the impact loss of hair has on the patient’s mental state-of-mind or even their willingness to undergo the appropriate chemo treatment in the first place.  

Scalp cooling has been around for some time now, and can dramatically reduce the effects of chemotherapy drugs on hair follicles, which means you get to keep more of your hair. It’s a non-invasive process whereby the head is kept cool using a specially designed gel-filled cap before, during and immediately after chemotherapy drugs have been administered.

How does it work?

Every hair on the body grows out of a hair follicle. Small blood-vessels in the scalp supply the cells of the follicles with food and oxygen, and carry away waste products. Any chemotherapy drugs in the bloodstream will also be carried to the hair follicles and absorbed into the hair, which is why it falls out.

When the hair follicles within the scalp are cooled, they are put into a hibernated state, reducing the up-take of the chemotherapy drug regimens, during and for a period of time after chemotherapy.

Cold cap therapy is a Crylon gel-filled soft cap which is fitted snugly to your head.  The Crylon gel contains tiny glass beads which remain soft and pliable when frozen.  This means that the cap gently moulds to the shape of your head to ensure it is pressing against every part of the scalp to evenly cool it.

Does it really work?

Cold cap therapy doesn’t work with all chemotherapy drugs so it’s important to check this out first.  
Most people that undergo chemotherapy using the caps will experience some hair shedding, but the vast majority of people are left with a significant amount of hair after treatment.  Feedback from cap users report that they have worked so well that friends, family and work colleagues were unaware that they’d even undergone chemotherapy.  

To read first-hand from people that have used the cold cap system click here

There are a number of cold cap providers on the market and it’s important to get the right one for you.  

The things to ask:

If you have more questions visit our website Q&A or contact us here