Chemotherapy Side Effects: Breast Cancer Patients Using ‘Cold Caps’ Kept More Hair Than Others

Although no treatment currently exists that can prevent hair loss from chemotherapy, researchers hope to be one step closer in developing an effective solution.

New research published in JAMA details the effects of scalp cooling devices on 182 women with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy. This is the first research to be done that evaluates the efficacy of scalp cooling devices in a randomized clinical trial, the authors note.

Read: What Is Chemotherapy? The Ins And Outs Of Treatment, And How It Affects Cancer Patients

Of the 182 women, 119 received scalp cooling, while the other 63 were part of the control group.

nurse Researchers are one step closer to providing an effective solution to chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The way scalp cooling works is by applying what’s referred to as a ‘cold cap’ to the patient’s head immediately before they begin their treatment. This causes the temperature of their head to lower, which reduces blood flow to hair follicles before, during, and after the treatment.

More than half of the women who used the cold caps kept at least half of their hair and the women who received no treatment all experienced at least partial hair loss.

Although this is hopeful news for those undergoing chemotherapy, the authors conclude that “further research needs to be conducted to assess longer-term efficacy and adverse effects.”

An additional study found similar results among women. The patients received a scalp-cooling treatment created in England called the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, which is not yet F.D.A. certified, the New York Times reported. Similar to the prior study, these authors also note that further research needs to be conducted to assess long-term effects.

“These findings appear to represent a major step forward in improving the quality of life of individuals with cancer,” Dr. Dawn Hershman, who studies the effects of cancer treatments, told NPR.

See also: Chemotherapy Success Rate: Can We Predict How Cancer Cells Respond To Treatment​

No More Chemo? Molecularly Targeted Therapies Poised To Make Chemotherapy Obsolete In Treating Cance​r

 

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