Scalp Cooling (hypothermia) -
- with the arcticheat Cooling Cap protects patients from the chemotherapy side-effects
Scalp Cooling with arcticheat Cooling Cap protects patients from the chemotherapy side-effects
cooling is a method of reducing hair loss (alopecia) caused by
chemotherapy. Some types of chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss but
the hair grows back once the treatment has ended. Scalp
cooling is a method of reducing hair loss from the head during
treatment with some chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy is the use of
anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cell
How scalp cooling works
Every hair on the body grows out of a hair follicle. Small blood vessels in the scalp supply the cells of these follicles with food and oxygen, and carry away waste products. Any chemotherapy drugs in the bloodstream will also be carried to the hair follicles. When blood vessels in the scalp are cooled they become smaller, and so less blood flows through them. Cooling the scalp during chemotherapy means that less of the chemotherapy drug reaches the hair follicles, which means the hair is less likely to fall out.
One widely available method of scalp cooling uses a 'cold cap', which is filled with a gel that can be chilled. The arcticheat cooling cap. The cap must be fitted snugly around the head to work properly.
Who can have scalp cooling?
ScalpCooling is suitable with Malignant Solid Tumors (sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas) like e.g. breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer
But Scalp cooling is not suitable for everyone. It isn't suitable:
with haematological cancers, such as myeloma, leukaemia and lymphoma, as there is a high risk of cancer cells surviving in the blood vessels of the scalp and causing the cancer to come back after treatment
for some people who need very high doses of chemotherapy, as scalp cooling is less likely to work with very high doses of the drugs
if you’re having continuous chemotherapy through a pump for several days, as this makes it impractical to have scalp cooling
for some patients whose liver isn't working as well as it should - this may lead to the chemotherapy drugs circulating in the body for longer than usual, and it may not be possible to keep the scalp cold for long enough
for people who have severe migraines.
Concerns about scalp cooling
Some doctors worry about using scalp cooling with treatment that aims to cure the cancer. They are concerned that cancer cells that may have spread to the scalp may be more likely to survive chemotherapy if scalp cooling is used. However, secondary cancers in the scalp are very uncommon. Clinical trials have shown that the risk of these developing as a result of scalp cooling is very small, except in haematological cancers. Some people may prefer not to have scalp cooling because of this, but others are happy to try it. If you’re interested, talk it through with your doctor.
Some drugs that scalp cooling may be used with
Scalp cooling is most likely to be effective with e.g.:
Having scalp cooling
For scalp cooling to work, your scalp temperature needs to be kept low for the whole time the drugs are circulating in your blood.
This means that your scalp needs to be cold for about 30-40 minutes before your chemotherapy drugs are given, throughout the time chemotherapy is given and for about 30-40 minutes afterwards.
When using the arcticheat cooling cap you are usually free to walk about once your chemotherapy has been given. However, your cap will need to be changed about every 1,5 hours to keep your scalp cool, so you can’t go too far from the chemotherapy department.
Using a cap attached to the cooling machines you will need to sit by the machine while the cap is in place, so you won’t be able to walk about freely with this method.
You’ll probably feel chilly when having scalp cooling and may need to wear warm clothes. Hot drinks will help you feel warmer. You rarely may get a headache during scalp cooling, especially in hot weather.
How effective is scalp cooling?
cooling can be effective in preventing or reducing the loss of your
hair. But you won't know how well it will work for you until you try
Despite scalp cooling, you may find that your hair thins slightly. Unfortunately, some people who have scalp cooling will still lose their hair. Some people, who lose their hair over a prolonged period while using scalp cooling, find this harder to cope with than the quicker and more predictable hair loss that occurs without scalp cooling.
Scalp cooling only protects the hair on your scalp. Body hair - including eyelashes, eyebrows, beards and moustaches, chest hair and pubic hair - may be lost.
Hair loss caused by chemotherapy is almost always temporary. Once the treatment is over, your hair will start to grow back. At first the hair is very fine, but you’ll probably have a full head of hair after 3-6 months. You may find that the texture or colour of your hair is different but this is often temporary. After about 12 months new hair growth may be similar to the colour and texture you had before chemotherapy.
If you’re interested in scalp cooling, discuss this with your doctor or nurse. They can advise whether it’s suitable for you.
Information about the arcticheat Cooling Cap