Scalp Cooling Treatment Reduces Chemo Hair Loss
by Marcia Simon, APR
Alopecia, or hair loss, is a side effect of many types of chemotherapy, and a major cause of anxiety for most patients undergoing cancer treatment.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System can potentially reduce hair loss associated with chemotherapy and is now FDA-cleared for patients in the United States.
Here’s how it works: Because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells in the body, and hair cells are among the fastest-dividing, many chemotherapy drugs adversely impact the health of hair cells and ultimately cause hair loss during the treatment period. With this new scalp cooling system, the patient wears a cooling cap on her/his head before, during and after chemo treatment. Scalp cooling reduces the damage to hair follicles by cooling the scalp, which reduces blood flow to the area around the hair follicles to possibly prevent or minimize hair loss.
Used in Canada and Europe for years, the Paxman system was approved in 2017 by the FDA for use as a prescriptive device to reduce hair loss for breast cancer patients. Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut is among the U.S. hospitals now using the Paxman system. Outcome data from clinical trials helps the hospital’s oncology nurses provide this service as part of the best possible care for breast cancer patients.
Studies show that patients who use scalp cooling tend to lose less hair, and use head coverings or wigs less often. Scalp cooling does not reduce hair loss on other parts of the body.