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Bye, Hair Loss! This Cooling Cap Protects Hair During Chemotherapy

Feb 15, 2017 09:29 AM EST
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Battling with breast cancer takes a lot of courage, energy and time. Aside from the dangers of the cancer, women undergoing chemotherapy is also under intense emotional fight as they lose their hair during the course of the treatment.

Now, two new studies revealed that using a cooling cap during cancer treatment could prevent hair loss that comes with chemotherapy.

The studies, both published in the journal JAMA Network, showed that women who used a scalp-cooling system were more likely to keep some of their hair after chemotherapy. The first study, which was conducted by researchers at University of California - San Francisco, used DigniCap cooling system. The second study, which was conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, used the Paxman cooling system. The DigniCap is the only cooling cap approved by the Food and Drugs Administration, while the Paxman system is still under review by the FDA.

Read: Cure for Baldness? Japanese Firms Work to End Hair Loss Problems by 2020

"I think it's a very exciting tool, because hair loss is such a horrible manifestation of chemotherapy," said Dr. Harold Burstein, a breast cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, in a report from Reuters Health.

For the DigniCap study, the researchers recruited 122 patients who had either stage I or II breast cancer. One hundred six of the patients used DigniCap while 16 patients served as control and did not used the cooling cap. Among the patients using the DigniCap, 66.3 percent or 67 lost less than 50 percent of their hair. On the other hand, all the patients in the control group lost their hair.

The Paxman trial also got positive results. Among the 95 participants who used the cooling cap, 48 have lost less than half of their hair. Similar to the DigniCap study, women who did not use the cooling cap during the Paxman trial lost all of their hair.

At present, DigniCap is the only available cooling cap in the market. It is available at infusion centers in 17 states at an average cost between $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the number of chemotherapy cycles.

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