Sunday, February 25, 2024

Cold Cap For Chemo Cost

Caring For Your Hair And Head

New portable cold cap technology can save chemo patients’ hair

Here are suggestions on how to care for your hair and head while youre getting treatment. For more information, read our resource Hair Loss and Your Cancer Treatment.

  • Wash and condition your hair every 2 to 4 days with a fragrance-free shampoo and a cream rinse or hair conditioner.
  • Always rinse your hair well and pat it dry with a soft towel.
  • Brush or comb your hair gently with a soft-bristle brush or comb. Start brushing or combing your hair at the ends and gently work your way up to your scalp. You can also finger-comb your hair by wetting your fingers with water.
  • If your hair is long, you may want to have it cut short before you begin treatment.
  • Try using hair products specially designed to cover bald spots and thinning areas of your hair .

Do not use the following things on your hair during treatment. They can be too harsh or pull on your hair.

  • Hair spray, creams or oils, hair dye, bleach, relaxers, or permanents
  • Clips, barrettes, bobby pins, pony tail holders, or scrunchies
  • Hair dryers, curlers, curling irons, hot rollers, or a hair straightener
  • Rubber bathing or swimming caps

Also, dont put your hair in braids, corn rows, or pony tails.

How Might It Work

The theory behind scalp hypothermia is that the cooling tightens up or constricts blood vessels in the scalp. This constriction is thought to reduce the amount of chemo that reaches the cells of the hair follicles. The cold also decreases the activity of the hair follicles and makes them less attractive to chemo, which targets rapidly dividing cells. This could reduce the effect of chemo on the follicle cells and, as a result, prevent or reduce hair loss from the scalp.

How To Use The Paxman Scalp Cooling System

If youre interested in using the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, talk with your healthcare provider before your first chemotherapy treatment. They will sign you up and Paxman will send you your cooling cap and kit. You will receive it in 3 to 4 days.

Its important that you get ready for your scalp cooling treatment before your first appointment. Your nurse will connect your cap to the cooling machine, but you will need to prepare your hair and fit your cap on your head.

To learn how to get ready for your Paxman scalp cooling treatment, watch the videos on the Paxman website at

After you watch the videos, practice getting your hair ready and fitting your cap. You may need some help from a caregiver, friend, or family member. You may also bring someone to your appointment with you.

Remember to bring your cap and kit with you to your appointment.

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Cold Cap Tips From Women Who’ve Tried It

Depending on the type of scalp cooling your hospital offers, the advice may be different. Check with your treatment team for specific guidance.

The following tips from women who have experienced scalp cooling may help:

  • Take a warm drink with you to sip during the treatment to help warm you up
  • Wear layers and take a blanket to keep warm
  • Take earphones to listen to music or a podcast
  • The cold cap should cover the whole scalp and fit snugly
  • Removing hair extensions, weaves or braids before scalp cooling
  • Gently combing back your hair with a wide tooth comb or your fingers so the front hairline is visible
  • Take a spray bottle of warm water to apply to your hair before the cap goes on
  • Apply a small amount of conditioner to your hair before the cap goes on, this will help remove the cap
  • Once the scalp cooling finishes, allow time for the cap to defrost before removing it so it doesnt pull on your hair

If youre struggling with the side effects of the cold cap speak to your chemotherapy nurse or treatment team. They may recommend taking mild pain relief, such as paracetamol, before wearing the cold cap.

Things like water spray bottles, conditioner and extra layers may not be available in the chemotherapy suite so you may want to bring your own.

You can find more tips and information on scalp cooling in our Breast cancer and hair loss booklet. You can also find out more about scalp cooling on the Cancer Hair Care website.

What Should I Do


Some cooling cap systems, such as DigniCap, Paxman, and Amma, have been cleared for use by the US Food and Drug Administration . Some older types of scalp hypothermia devices can be rented or purchased online, and some cancer treatment facilities in the US allow patients to use them.

If you are considering whether to use scalp hypothermia, its important to carefully weigh the potential benefits, discomforts, and risks . Discuss the pros and cons of this option with your cancer treatment doctor. You might also want to ask if the treatment center has experience in using cooling caps and how successful they have been.

Another consideration might be cost. Older types of caps are generally not covered by insurance, and its not yet clear if the use of newer, computer-controlled systems will be covered, either. Its important to check with your insurance company to see what might be covered before starting your treatment.

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What Do Cold Caps Feel Like

As youd expect cold caps worn during scalp cooling are very cold, and they can feel quite heavy. Some women describe having a headache while wearing one, but these usually wear off quickly once the cap is removed.

I did use the cold cap and can only explain the experience as having a severe ice cream headache or brain freeze for 1015 minutes. Once the freezing had taken place I did not feel the cold cap anymore.


It was worse for first half hour then became bearable and, as the time went on, no problem at all.


Help With The Cost Of Wigs

You can get free synthetic wigs on the NHS if:

  • you’re under 16, or you are 19 or under and in full-time education
  • you’re a hospital inpatient
  • you or your partner are getting Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance or the guarantee credit of Pension Credit
  • you have an NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • you are named on a valid HC2 certificate

Cancer Research UK has more information on getting a wig on the NHS.

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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Cold Cap Therapy Can Reduce Hair Loss Caused By Chemotherapy

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How effective is cold cap therapy in preventing hair loss in people undergoing chemotherapy treatments? Are there any risks?

ANSWER: Using a cold cap can significantly reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy. Although some minor side effects may occur, no serious side effects have been associated with cold caps. Some have questioned whether cold caps might prevent chemotherapy from reaching cancer cells in the scalp. But that risk appears to be low.

Chemotherapy works by killing rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells. But chemotherapy cant tell the difference between cancer cells and other normal cells that also divide quickly, such as those in hair follicles. When chemotherapy attacks the hair follicles, it causes the hair to fall out.

In some cases, chemotherapy may only lead to thinning hair. In others, it makes all of a persons hair fall out. For example, studies have shown that most of the chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer cause almost total hair loss in most patients.

While losing your hair may sound like a small price to pay for preventing cancer from coming back, its a side effect thats often hard to take. Not only can losing your hair be tough on your self-image, its also a vivid and constant reminder of a cancer diagnosis.

Cold Cap Therapy For Chemo Patients: Interview With Kate Dilligan Ceo Of Cooler Heads Care

Mikel Ross on the Cost of Cooling Caps for Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss

November 16th, 2021Conn HastingsExclusive, Medicine, Oncology

Cooler Heads Care, a medtech company based in San Diego, created Amma, a cold cap therapy device that aims to help chemotherapy patients to preserve their hair. Hair loss is a very common side-effect of chemo, and poses a significant psychological challenge for patients who are already struggling with their diagnosis and treatment.

Simply cooling the scalp during chemotherapy can dramatically reduce the amount of drug absorbed by the hair follicles, leading to reduced hair loss. However, current technology to achieve this comes with a hefty price tag, and may cost the patient as much as $8,000. This is out of reach for many patients, and so Cooler Heads Care has developed the Amma patient-administered cold cap system that costs significantly less under a rental scheme, at approximately $2,000 per patient.

The device is sent to the patients home, and the company provides training on how to use it. Patients can bring the device to their chemo sessions and then take it back home with them to continue the therapy. The company was a finalist in the recent Medtech Innovator Global Competition.

See a video about the technology:

Medgadget had the opportunity to speak with Kate Dilligan, CEO of Cooler Heads Care, about the technology.

Conn Hastings, Medgadget: What is the impact of hair loss for patients receiving chemotherapy?

Medgadget: What inspired you to develop technology to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy?

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Types Of Scalp Cooling

There are two types of scalp cooling. Both types of scalp cooling cap need to be worn for up to 30 to 40 minutes before your chemotherapy drugs are given, during your treatment and for some time afterwards. You may have the cap on for a few hours in total. The chemotherapy staff can help you feel as comfortable as possible.

Cold Cap Cost And Insurance Coverage

Cold cap therapy is currently a self-pay treatment. It is a transaction between the patient and Paxman. Patients buy the cap and pay a fee for each treatment.

Health insurance coverage for scalp cooling is not yet standard. However, Paxman reports that, in some cases, claims submitted for reimbursement for scalp cooling treatment costs were paid, depending on the specific coverage of the patient’s health plan. Additionally, patients with flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts should check with their account administrator as cold cap therapy may be a covered expense.

Also, help with funding, such as through Hair to Stay, may be available.

In This Section:

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Wigs And Head Coverings

You may still want to wear a wig or other hair covering during chemotherapy. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your healthcare provider.


If you want to wear a wig or hair piece, try to get one before your hair falls out because it will be easier to match your hair color and style. If youve already lost some or all of your hair, bring a photo of your usual hairstyle and, if you can, a lock of your hair to the store. This will help you find a wig or hair piece that looks like your hair did before your treatment started.

When shopping for wigs or hair pieces, you may want to shop around and compare prices. A wig or hair piece should fit properly, be comfortable, and be easy to care for. You may want to start wearing it as soon as your hair begins to thin. As your hair gets thinner, you may need to have your wig or hair piece adjusted to make it fit better.

Many insurance companies will pay for wigs or hair pieces when hair loss is related to medical treatment. Contact your insurance company to find out what your plan offers. If you need help finding a place to buy a wig or hairpiece, talk with your healthcare provider.

Head coverings

Some people choose not to wear any head covering during their chemotherapy. This is your choice.

How Long Does Scalp Cooling Take During Treatment

The 9 Best Cooling Caps For Chemo Patients

Scalp cooling will add time before and after each of your chemotherapy treatments. How long you need to cool before and after your treatment depends on the type of cooling cap youre using and your chemotherapy. It can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours. If youre using frozen caps, you can go back home with your cold cap on to finish your cooling.

Once you finish each chemotherapy treatment, you may be asked to finish your cooling in a separate area outside the chemotherapy infusion unit so that other patients can get treatment during the day.

Your healthcare team will answer your questions about how long cooling will take after treatments.

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How Is Scalp Cooling Done

Scalp cooling is done by wearing a special cap on your head. There are 2 different ways to cool your scalp: using frozen cooling caps or by using a machine that continuously cools the cap.

Frozen cooling caps

There are many well-known brands of cooling caps:

You can rent the Chemo Cold Cap and the Penguin cap through the companies that make them. Your healthcare provider can give you more information about these products.

Its important for the caps to stay at the same cold temperature before, during, and after your treatment. To do this, you will need to have multiple frozen caps during each chemotherapy treatment and change them as they get warm. Follow each caps guidelines for how many caps you will need and how long you should wear each one.

All caps need to be frozen ahead of time and brought to your chemotherapy appointment in a portable cooler with dry ice. You will need to plan ahead to bring a caregiver, friend, family member, or a hired trained capper to help you change your cold cap during your treatment.

Cap attached to a cooling machine

Memorial Sloan Kettering offers the Paxman Scalp Cooling System. This system works by attaching a cooling cap to a cooling machine. The machine pushes cold liquid through the cap while youre wearing it.

Why Some Chemo Patients Choose Expensive Cold Cap Therapy

Life stopped when 28-year-old Kelsey McLaughlin found out she had stage-three breast cancer. It felt like someone cruelly reached down out of the sky and pressed a pause button in the timeline of my life, she tells SELF. I’m a planner through and through, so to feel like my ability to plan was limited was nothing short of devastating.

Up until her diagnosis, McLaughlin had been perfectly healthy. So when she felt an almond-sized lump in her right breast, the odds that it was just a cyst appeared to be in her favor. But it wasn’t a cyst. “I worked so hard to be healthyshouldnt that count for something? I have a gym membership, practice yoga several times per week, I drink kale smoothies every day, and I sure as heck do not get cancer, she wrote on her blog a few weeks after her diagnosis.

After working with her care team to develop a treatment plan, she took to the internet to learn about how other women her age navigated cancer. I became obsessed with finding other women my age with my diagnosis. I wanted to know everything about their experience with chemotherapy so I knew what to expect, she says.

With the reality of chemotherapythe cancer had spread to her lymph nodescame the likelihood of losing her hair, which felt like another stab at her identity. I wasnt ready for any of this, but I especially wasnt ready to look like a cancer patient, McLaughlin says.

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What Is Scalp Cooling And How Does It Work

Scalp cooling involves wearing a tightly fitted, helmet-like hat filled with a cold liquid or gel before, during and after you receive chemotherapy.

During each chemotherapy session, you wear the cap for 30 minutes before the infusion, during the entire infusion and for about 60 to 90 minutes post chemotherapy, Ortega said. The amount of time you wear the cap can vary depending on the type of chemotherapy youre getting and the type of scalp cooling method you use.

Cold caps and scalp cooling systems work by narrowing the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp. By reducing blood flow, this also reduces the amount of medicine that reaches your hair follicles. With less chemotherapy medicine in the follicles, the hair may be less likely to fall out. However, body hair, such as eyelashes, eyebrows and pubic hair may still fall out with chemotherapy.

How Does The Paxman System Work

‘Cold Cap’ May Help Patients Undergoing Chemo Keep Their Hair

A soft, lightweight silicone cap is placed on the patients head and is connected to a small compact refrigeration system. The scalp temperature is lowered by circulating a special coolant through the cold cap. This allows the scalp to be maintained at a constant temperature throughout the treatment period.

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The Cost Of Cold Capping

Another potentially prohibiting factor? Cost. Cold capping and scalp cooling are expensive and, while some insurance companies will reimburse a portion of the fee, as a general rule patients have to pay out-of-pocket. In the United States, the Paxman scalp cooling system costs up to $2,200. Dignicap ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 . Cold capping is even higherI rented my equipment through Chemo Cold Caps at a rate of $425 per month . Dry ice was $120 a week for 12 weeks. The grand total: $2,715. Luckily, my HSA funds covered the costs. Patients who dont have an HSA may qualify for financial assistance through organizations like Hair to Stay or The Fleener Family Foundation, as long as they meet certain income requirements .

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