Cold Caps during Chemotherapy. Will it prevent hair loss?

published on: 16th february, 2022

Hair loss is a major concern for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The loss of hair during chemotherapy can be emotionally draining. In many cases, though, wearing cool caps can help to prevent hair loss.

What is Cold Cap Therapy?

Cold Cap Therapy involves wearing a specially designed cold gel cap on the head. During this process, your scalp is cooled to very low temperatures, which can help minimize hair loss. The patient wears the cold cap during, before, and after each chemotherapy treatment. For a period of time, depending on the specific treatment, caps are changed to maintain the correct optimum temperature.

How it Works

A cold cap acts as a vasoconstrictor. When the body is cooled, the blood vessels decrease and the flow of blood to the follicles of the hair is reduced. Cooling limits the amount of chemotherapy medication that can get into the hair follicle cells. In addition, the cold reduces the activity of the hair follicles, making them less appealing to chemo and minimizing hair loss.

What Research says?

Several studies have demonstrated very promising results in women. A minimum of 50% of patients who tried cold cap were able to keep their hair. At least half of the women who used a cold cap in the early stages of breast cancer lost less than half of their hair.

The cool cap machine is effective in 75 per cent of patients, in 10 percent it works partially and in 15 percent does not work. It is very important to say that the usual phenotype of patients without hair during chemotherapy become a past in a lot of cases.

what should you expect when using a cold cap?

Cold cap effectiveness is determined by several factors, including the type of chemotherapy medications used, the chemo dosage, and how well the patient tolerates the cold. The most prevalent adverse effects have been headaches, neck and shoulder pain, chills, and scalp pain.

Is it right for you?

Cold caps can help prevent hair loss, but they aren't for everyone. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks with your doctor and clinical team before beginning cold cap therapy.

Note: * The information on this website is not meant to be used to diagnose health conditions or to replace legitimate medical advice.

Dr. Mohanad Diab
Consultant - Medical Oncology

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