Using cold cap to prevent hair loss during cancer

A study conducted on women using the cooling caps while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer showed that 66% lost 50% or less of their hair. Photo: Pexels

(Amrit Singh/ Mayo Health Clinic) — Chemotherapy often is prescribed to treat many forms of cancer. It kills cancer cells, can make a tumor smaller before surgery and helps other treatments work better.

Not only does chemotherapy kill cancer cells, but it also slows down or kills healthy cells that grow and divide quickly. This includes the cells that cause hair to grow, so hair loss is one of the common side effects of chemotherapy. Losing hair can significantly contribute to a patient’s stress and anxiety. However, a treatment called scalp cooling therapy is helping many patients keep most of their hair.

Hair loss may seem like a small price to pay in exchange for chemotherapy aimed at treating cancer or preventing it from returning. But for some patients, hair loss damages their self-image and serves as a constant reminder of the disease. Scalp cooling therapy helps protect a patient’s privacy by reducing the visible effects of cancer treatment, and can improve patients’ self-esteem and attitude toward treatment.