Breast Cancer Patients Can Retain Hair With This Novel Technology

Cathy QuinnFeb 17 , 2017

Researchers discovered a way in which women who suffer from breast cancer might prevent losing their hair in chemotherapy. The researchers clarifies that there will still be hair loss, even while using the cooling caps. However, DigniCap, a kind of a cooling cap has recently received FDA approval and can be used in US during chemotherapy.

Barriers to their use in the US included a lack of approval from the Food and Drug Administration and questions about their safety and effectiveness.

"These findings appear to represent a major step forward in improving the quality of life of individuals with cancer", says Dr. Dawn Hershman, who studies the effects of cancer treatments at the Columbia University School of Medicine in NY.

The study will be published February 14 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. They were asked to determine by themselves if they saw any improvements in hair loss reduction.

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Nangia said that the biggest issue patients may face to avail the services of the cap would be the cost. As of now, the cap's cost may not be reimbursed by health insurance and would almost cost between $1,500 to $3,000 per patient. But, there are worries that cancer might reappear in a woman's scalp years after treatment, said Lichtenfeld and Dr. Richard Bleicher, breast clinical service line leader with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. I would also love to look at the efficacy in stage 3 breast cancer as well as other solids tumors.

A trial proved that two-third of the women who wore the cap lost half or less hair than usual. The women wore the cooling cap 30 minutes before their treatment and 90 to 120 minutes after. The system was approved by the FDA in 2015 and is available at infusion centers in 17 states.

The second study, the Paxman cooling system, also reported that half of the 95 participants lost less than half their hair after four rounds of chemotherapy. She is an assistant professor and breast cancer expert with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

After four chemotherapy treatments, about 51 percent of women using the cooling device still retained at least half their hair, compared to none of the women who hadn't used a cooling cap. The team reported that 142 women that were randomly assigned to no scalp cooling while receiving their chemotherapy treatment. It's called a scalp-cooling cap. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side's scientific corridor, Weill Cornell Medicine's powerful network of collaborators extends to its parent university Cornell University; to Qatar, where an worldwide campus offers a USA medical degree; and to programs in Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey.

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"We chose to focus this study on women with breast cancer because of its prevalence and large patient population, and women are more emotionally sensitive to hair loss in general", said Nangia. Nangia says most patients described the device as "reasonably comfortable". Both studies were funded by the respective caps' manufacturers. In both cases, the researchers were free to publish results they deemed appropriate.

Scientists have developed some revolutionary cooling caps which will prevent hair loss. This causes the temperature of their head to lower, which reduces blood flow to hair follicles before, during, and after the treatment.

Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body, like hair.

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