How to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy

Botsford chemotherapy patient using Penguin cold cap therapy

Ann models the Penguin Cold Cap, which she wears during chemotherapy treatment to prevent hair loss.

Most people would have lost much of their hair by now, but not Ann.  This is her third treatment of chemotherapy for breast cancer and her hair is as full and beautiful as ever.  She says small amounts of hair have come out during brushing but not much more than normal, no large clumps and not nearly enough to be noticeable.

Ann is using cold cap therapy during her chemotherapy sessions, a treatment technique suggested by Ann’s oncologist, Dr. Jeffrey Margolis, and recently featured in Oprah MagazineBotsford Cancer Center in Farmington Hills is currently one of the few cancer treatment centers in the area offering the new technology.

How does it prevent hair loss from chemotherapy?

During chemotherapy, hair follicles are damaged causing hair loss.  Cold Cap Therapy works to reduce this damage by cooling the follicles which makes the chemotherapy drugs less harmful to them.  The cap, which sort of looks like a ski cap, is worn before, during and after every chemotherapy session.  Ann must wear hers for about seven hours on the days she receives each of her six chemotherapy treatments.

Benefits of cold cap therapy

Besides the obvious benefits of preventing hair loss from chemotherapy, Ann said the most

Ann still has beautiful hair thanks to the cold cap therapy she receives during chemotherapy treatment at Botsford Cancer Center.

important reason she opted for the cold cap was her young children, ages 13 and 11.  It struck a chord when her daughter asked “are you going to lose your hair, mom?”  A breast cancer diagnosis affects the whole family so Ann believes that if she doesn’t “look sick,” then her children will do better both at home and in school.

So far it has worked.  Ann is halfway through her treatments, looks great and feels confident.  She’s able to continue about her life as normal without worry of getting those dreaded “pity looks” from strangers.  Most importantly, her children are doing well.

Cold cap therapy is offered to Botsford Cancer Center patients but is currently not covered by most insurance carriers.  To learn more, contact the Botsford Cancer Center at (248) 471-8120 or by email.

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