Cold Caps Can Help Chemo Patients Keep Their Hair
For some cancer patients, the prospect of losing their hair during chemotherapy is a particularly difficult blow. Hair loss feeds into a broader sense of a total loss of control. Since their hair is part of their identity, losing it becomes a very public sign of their private battle. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no medication that can prevent hair loss from chemo, but they now have options thanks to a relatively new therapy called “cold capping.”
What is Cold Capping?
Chemotherapy patients wear the cold caps on their scalps before, during and after their treatments to dramatically reduce the temperature of the cells around their hair follicles. The cold is intended to constrict the blood vessels and prevent the chemotherapy from reaching the patients’ hair as much as possible. There are two primary types of cold cap systems: one that continuously circulates coolant through a cap and another in which special gel packs are cooled using dry ice or a freezer.
The FDA approved the use of cold caps for cancer patients with solid tumors in 2017, and studies have shown that over half of women chemo patients using cold caps lost less than half of their hair. While the treatments can be painful due to the extremely cold temperatures, many patients are happy with the results.
Despite the proven potential of cold caps to help chemo patients mitigate the harmful side effects of chemotherapy, the treatment is not yet well-known in the United States. Our team recently received a letter from a chemotherapy patient in Mansfield, TX, who used a cold cap and Penguin Brand Dry Ice® to preserve her hair. We’re sharing it here to help raise awareness among others who may find it helpful.
“I would like to thank Airgas for your support while I was using Cold Caps during my chemotherapy. Your consistently having quality dry ice at an affordable price made it possible for me to use the cold caps and preserve my hair. I know that you have also been a support to other women using cold caps.
When possible, maintaining one’s hair is more than just a matter of vanity. It is an important part in helping to keep some normalcy and some feeling of control at a time when both are tenuous. It is also a great boost in helping one keep a positive outlook, which is a contributing factor in the healing process.
Again thank you – to your company and staff members who were always helpful and courteous.”
Are you considering cold capping as part of your chemotherapy treatment? We recommend discussing the options with your doctor as well as your insurance provider. To find Penguin Brand Dry Ice® near you, please use our convenient store locator tool.