Chemotherapy induced hair-loss can be very demotivating, distressing and it knocks the confidence of many who have to go through it. The scalp cooling system has been designed to combat this and reduce the amount of hair loss during certain types of chemotherapy. This is done by wearing a specially designed gel filled cap during and after chemotherapy treatment to cool the scalp.
How does it work?
Chemotherapy affects hair cells because they are fast growing cells. The chemotherapy is delivered through the blood supply and when it meets hair follicles it causes them to get damaged. Fran Boyle, Director of the Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research, and Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Sydney, explains how scalp-cooling changes this process.
What do patients need to know about scalp cooling?
Scalp cooling offers a decrease in hair loss during chemotherapy, which means you will still find that some hair does fall out. Hair is very individual so how much you lose completely depends on your type of hair. Although some hair loss in inevitable, you will end up seeing that you keep a good amount of hair.
If you have long hair and you’re going to try scalp cooling, it’s recommended that you keep your hair long before starting chemotherapy as this gives you more options when covering up areas of hair loss, which tends to be on the crown of the head. If you want to get your hair coloured, it’s recommended that you do this with a hairdresser before your treatment begins.
You might also see some breakage with your hair so it’s very important to be careful with it and only use gentle products or, if possible, go to your hairdressers who will know how best to treat your hair.
Our partners at the Mater Hospital, have more information regarding scalp cooling for patients, hairdressers and clinicians.