Cold Cap Scalp Cooling: A Revolutionary Hair Loss Treatment For Chemotherapy Patients
“Am I going to lose my hair?” is the question that cancer patients ask us most frequently. Hair loss (alopecia) is a more commonly experienced side effect of certain drugs used in cancer treatments. It is also one of the most recognised side-effects of undergoing chemotherapy.
A first-of-its-kind, Cold Cap (scalp cooling) Therapy from Paxman is available at Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic. As the global pioneer in scalp cooling, Paxman’s technology is clinically proven to dramatically reduce hair loss in select chemotherapy patients, increasing every patient’s chances of “zero hair loss” during their cancer treatment.
How does Scalp Cooling work?
The groundbreaking research of the Paxman Research and Innovation Centre has dramatically advanced our understanding of the relationship between hair loss and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy drugs destroy fast-growing and dividing cancer cells. Unlike radiation, which is highly targeted, chemotherapy flushes drugs throughout the entire body and can affect the healthy cells of the skin, hair and intestines. This can lead to a range of side effects, including hair loss and discoloured nails.
Paxman’s research has shown that the damage to the hair follicle caused by chemotherapy drugs can be alleviated by reducing the temperature of the scalp.
The cap is filled with a cold liquid to lower the temperature of the scalp to 20 degrees Celsius and reduce the blood flow to the scalp. With reduced blood flow, less of the chemotherapy drug can reach and damage the hair follicles. Cold Cap Therapy begins 30 minutes before the chemotherapy infusion, stays on during treatment, and 30-90 minutes after the chemotherapy is finished. In total, the treatment can take up to two and a half hours.
How successful is the Cold Cap treatment?
Over the past two decades, 100,000 patients have been treated with Paxman’s scalp cooling technology.
- Scalp cooling has an 89 per cent success rate in breast cancer patients.
- Only 8 per cent of scalp cooling patients still experienced significant hair loss during chemotherapy.
Why does Scalp Cooling work?
A Significant Reduction of Blood Flow To The Scalp
The cold cap lowers the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees, which reduces the blood flow by up to 40 per cent.
As a result, a much smaller amount of chemotherapy drugs is carried to the hair follicles, and a lower effective drug dose may enter the cells.
Chemotherapy Drugs Bypass The Now Dormant Hair Follicles
As the temperature of the scalp is lowered, the metabolism-driven cell division slows down.
This means fast-dividing hair follicle cells become dormant. Since chemotherapy drugs first and foremost target fast-dividing cells, they will bypass the now dormant hair follicles.
The Cytotoxicity of Chemotherapy Drugs is Reduced
The hair cells’ slower metabolic activity causes a general reduction in the toxicity of the applied chemotherapeutic drugs cytotoxicity localised to the scalp.
Cold Cap Therapy Available At No Additional Cost
Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic is one of the first clinics in Queensland to offer the clinically proven Cold Cap scalp cooling treatment by Paxman.
We aim to give cancer patients a little more control over their lives and provide eligible patients undergoing chemotherapy access to the treatment at no additional cost as part of their treatment plan.
Who is eligible for Scalp Cooling?
Cold Cap Therapy can only be used with certain types of cancer and chemotherapy drugs.
The scalp cooling treatment can be used with solid tumours that are commonly treated with chemotherapy regimes for
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gynecological Cancer
The treatment cannot be used with haematological malignancies (cancers of the blood and blood-forming organs), cold allergy, cold agglutinins, scalp metastases and bone marrow ablation chemotherapy.
What are the Side Effects?
- 89 per cent of patients describe the therapy as acceptable, with minimal discomfort.
- 15 per cent of patients struggle with coldness.
- 2 per cent of patients experience headaches during treatment.
Chemotherapy Without Scalp Cooling Therapy
Without Cold Capping, hair loss may begin to occur two to three weeks after initial chemotherapy treatment. As the hair begins to fall out, the scalp may feel hot, itchy and tender to touch.
Whilst some people do not experience any hair loss at all, others find that the skin on their heads becomes very sensitive.
Once all chemotherapy treatments have been concluded, it can take up to 12 months to grow back a full head of hair, and it may grow back in a different colour or structure.
Questions About Cold Cap (Scalp Cooling) Therapy And the Prevention of Hair Loss?
Not sure whether or not Cold Cap Therapy is for you?
Arrange a referral through your GP to see a Medical Oncologist at our Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic.
You can then discuss a tailored treatment plan and find out if you’re eligible for Cold Cap Therapy.