Sunday, February 18, 2024

What Is Cold Capping For Chemo

Types Of Scalp Cooling

Cold Cap Treatment During Chemotherapy: Mayo Clinic Radio

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.

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.

Amanda

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

Niki

How Much Does Scalp Cooling Cost

The cost of scalp cooling can range from $1,200 to $4,000 depending on the number of chemo cycles. Unfortunately, most medical insurance companies dont cover the cost of scalp cooling at this time. However, some patients have submitted for reimbursement from their insurance company and received a check for the full benefit amount, Ortega noted. Its worth looking into with your insurance company to see if it is a covered benefit.

You can also reach out to a nonprofit organization called Hair to Stay to see if financial assistance is available.

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What Does The Research Show

Controlled studies of older forms of scalp hypothermia have had conflicting results. However, some studies of newer, computer-controlled cooling cap systems have shown benefits. Recent studies of women getting chemo for early-stage breast cancer have found that at least half of the women using one of these newer devices lost less than half of their hair. The most common side effects have been headaches, neck and shoulder discomfort, chills, and scalp pain.

The success of scalp hypothermia may be related to the type of chemo drugs used, the chemo dosage, and how well the person tolerates the coldness.

Some research has also suggested that people with a thicker hair layer might be more likely to lose hair than those with a thinner layer of hair. This might be because the scalp doesnt cool down enough due to the insulating effect of the hair.

Cooling caps that are not fitted tightly have also been linked with more hair loss, often in patches where contact with the scalp is poor.

There remain some unanswered questions about the safety of scalp hypothermia. Some doctors are concerned that the cold could keep chemo from reaching any stray cancer cells lurking in the scalp. Some believe that the scalp cooling might protect cancer cells there and allow them to survive the chemo and keep growing. But in people who have used scalp hypothermia, reports of cancer in the scalp have been rare. More studies are needed to answer questions about long-term safety.

Whats A Cold Cap For Chemo

Cold Caps for Hair Preservation for Chemotherapy Patients

Asked by: Mrs. Helen Greenfelder

Cold caps and scalp cooling systems are tightly fitting, helmet-like hats filled with a cold gel or liquid that you wear during chemotherapy infusions. These devices have helped many people keep some or quite a bit of their hair when treated with chemotherapy that can cause hair loss.

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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 .

Healthlines Picks For Renting Or Buying Cold Caps For Chemo

There are several brands of cold caps to consider, with varying features and price points. Note that, while you may be able to find more affordable cold caps for purchase from online markets, such as Amazon, such caps may not be approved for use at your cancer treatment center.

Below are Healthlines vetted picks you may rent directly from the manufacturer:

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What Is Scalp Cooling

Scalp cooling works by reducing the blood flow to the hair follicles, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach them.

There are two main types of scalp cooling, and both involve wearing a cold cap.

The first type uses a gel-filled hat that is chilled and replaced at regular intervals during your chemotherapy to keep the scalp cool.

The second type uses a refrigerated cooling machine to continuously pump a liquid coolant through the cap throughout the treatment.

Both types need to be worn for some time before, during and after chemotherapy is given. This means you may be at the hospital for longer.

Cold Cap Tips From Women Whove Tried It

Was the cold cap for chemotherapy worth 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.

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Hair Loss Related To Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy works by attacking fast-growing cells. Cancer cells are fast growing, but so are other cells, such as hair cells. Chemotherapy can cause hair loss on your scalp, eyebrows, eye lashes, arms, legs, and pubic area. Depending on your chemotherapy, you can lose hair in none, some, or all of these areas.

You may start to see your hair fall out 1 to 4 weeks after your first chemotherapy treatment. How much of your hair falls out depends on the type of chemotherapy and how much and how often you receive it. Talk with your healthcare team about the amount of hair loss you should expect from the chemotherapy you will receive.

How quickly hair falls out also varies from person to person. The first signs of hair loss may be more hair on your pillow in the morning, in the shower, or when you brush your hair.

Once your chemotherapy has stopped, your hair should begin to grow back. It can take 3 to 5 months for your hair to grow back, and it may have a different texture, color, or volume. For most people, hair grows in as fully as it was before chemotherapy.

What To Take To Your Cold Capping Chemo Session

Chemotherapy is a daunting prospect for all cancer patients. A combination of a fear of the unknown, nasty chemo side-effects, and the worry of how the chemo drugs are going to make you feel its a lot to deal with.

Everyone will tell you to pack a chemo bag to help ease your anxiety. But what should you take with you?

Here are some suggestions of what to pack:

  • A journal to write down how youre feeling
  • Headphones for music or mediation
  • Puzzle or a crossword book
  • Cozy blanket, scarf, and socks
  • Nausea relief such as peppermint essential oil or ginger tea
  • Lip balm and fragrance-free moisturizer chemo can make your skin dry

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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.

Thinking About Using The Cold Cap

Artic Heat

Before my breast cancer chemo I was desparate to keep my hair. Having only average plain looks and a lumpy scalp I knew that being bald would really not suit me. I also did not want to see a cancer sufferer looking back at me every time I looked in the mirror. So I tried the cold cap and for me it was very successful. I even had to have my hair cut and thinned out during chemo. I reckon I lost less than 10% of my hair but then, not every body loses their hair completely. My body hair everywhere else thinned and seemed to stop growing but strangely, I did lose all my pubes, although when and where they went is still a mystery. It was only after my 6th and final chemo that my eye lashes and eye brows thinned a bit. Another cold cap lady I met at the same time thinks that she lost only about 40% of her hair but she had no bald spots and she looked fine. Although she did lose all her body hair.

Now there are a lot of scare stories about the cap headaches, unbearable pain etc which might put you off even trying it. But my advice is, if you are really desparate to keep your hair then try it.

So here are the facts:

You have to wet your hair and rub conditioner into it at the start of each chemo. This improves the freezing ability of the cap. The nurses will always help you with this.

Hello Dizzle82

Best wishes for tomorrow. x

Hello Lotsoflovexox

noticing your post was in March so hope your through the worst & doing well.

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But Isnt It Just Hair

Considering the cost, discomfort, and potential hassle, it might make more sense to some people to forgo the whole process. Hair grows back, after all. Why bother with something that is primarily about looks when you are getting treatment for a disease as serious as cancer?

For me, it was about quality of life. I wanted to feel like myself as much as possible, and I did not want to go through the process of regrowing my hair. I did toss around the idea of just embracing the hair loss, but I also was certain I would regret it if I didnt at least give cold capping a try. Especially after learning that so many of the other Taxol side effects were quite manageable. Sometimes is the worst part of treatment, Dr. Chuang says, echoing the sentiments of my own oncologist.

In the end, my decision to endure 12 weeks of cold capping turned out to be a good call. Even though I held my breath for the first few weeks of treatment, wondering if I would be one of the lucky ones, it quickly became clear that my hair was going to stay put. I finished chemo on April 13 with a full head of hair and an urgent need for highlights . Oh, and a whole new understanding of the word cold.

Cold Caps May Reduce Hair Loss From Chemotherapy

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-CProgram Manager Emeritus, Oncology, Social Work

Cold caps or scalp cooling is a process designed to help some women lose less hair during chemotherapy. Let us note at the start at this does not work for all chemo drugs, and that the results can be variable. Let us also add some history. Perhaps twenty years ago, there was briefly a lot of hype about cold caps to preserve hair during chemotherapy. The theory, then and now, is that the cold constricts blood vessels that run to the scalp and reduces or stops chemo drugs from going there. These earlier products were only briefly on the market they turned out to be very uncomfortable, not to work very well, and some oncologists expressed concerns about limiting the blood flow to the scalp.

Several studies have found that 59-68% of women treated with taxanes lost less than half their hair if they used a cooling system.

Since, like everything else in Cancer World, there are no guarantees about saving your hair, this can become a tough decision. Remember that it is not irrevocable. If you start out chemo using a cap and decide you dont like it, you can stop. A switch in the other direction is less useful because the damage has already been done.

There is no doubt that it is better, always, to have options and some control. Considering using a scalp cooling system is one way to exercise your choices.

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What Is Cold Capping

Chemotherapy can cause hair loss by harming the cells that help hair grow. Hair follicles in the growth phase are sensitive to chemotherapy, resulting in hair loss about two weeks after treatment begins.

Cooling caps use intense cold to constrict the blood vessels in the scalp. That keeps the cell-killing chemo away from the hair follicles, where hair is produced.

The whole idea is that when you expose the scalp to cold fluid, the blood vessels in the scalp clamp down, says Dr. Kruse. In doing so, less chemotherapy can be delivered through the blood vessels to where the hair follicles live.

Cold Caps Vs Scalp Cooling Systems

Penguin Cold Cap Instruction – Keep Your Hair During Chemo

When referring to cold caps, were referring to the traditional manual or standalone versions that are frozen before each use.

Another similar treatment option, known as a scalp cooling system, requires the use of a machine and typically includes professional service.

Scalp cooling systems or automated cooling systems are Food and Drug Administration -approved for preventing hair loss. This option may offer better temperature control over a longer period of time but can be harder to use and come at a higher cost.

The types of cold caps covered in this list may be differentiated based on the following information:

  • rental vs. purchase
  • those sold in retail shops
  • those sold by sales representatives only
  • low number of caps vs. several
  • materials, such as steel or gel
  • extra features for comfort, such as chin straps

Cold caps are not the same as scalp cooling systems. While both are used for similar purposes, scalp cooling systems require computer machines to operate, and are exclusively used at cancer treatment centers.

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Hear From People Who Have Cold Capped

We have stories from people around the world who have gone through cold capping, what it meant to them and the valuable knowledge they have to share.

We know that an informed patient has a better outcome.

If you have decided that scalp cooling is the right choice for you, then we are committed to support you from beginning to end. But this is a two-way street, we also need you to be committed to the process too. It has been proven that an informed patient has a better outcome.

Self advocate

What Are Cold Caps

Cold caps are frozen devices intended to decrease the risk of hair loss from chemo treatments. The cold temperatures may decrease blood flow to your scalp, thereby preventing chemotherapy drugs from affecting your hair follicles.

In theory, by preserving your hair follicles, you may be able to thwart significant subsequent hair loss. However, its still possible that youll shed some hair. The purpose isnt to prevent all hair loss rather, its to prevent more noticeable, widespread hair loss.

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