By Lola Augustine Brown
Recent reports of two separate US studies suggest that a European technology gaining acceptance in North America will help more and more women undergoing treatment for breast cancer keep their hair.
A cooling cap looks like a swim cap and fits just as snugly. A liquid coolant flowing through the surface of the cap cools the scalp throughout a chemotherapy treatment and for 90 minutes afterwards to constrict blood vessels in the scalp, slowing blood flow and reducing chemotherapy’s effect on hair follicles.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that 66.3 per cent of the women being treated for stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer lost less than 50 per cent of their hair when undergoing chemo and wearing a cooling cap through treatment; five per cent lost no hair at all. The Swedish-produced DigniCap being tested—the company behind it partly funded the study—was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) in December 2015. A similar study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, involving the British-made Paxman Scalp Cooling System (not yet cleared by the F.D.A.) saw similar results.
Patients reported that they got used to the cooling cap quickly.
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