Scalp-Cooling Machine Reduces Hair Loss for Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy Cold Cap The Belgravia Centre

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has been using state-of-the-art technology to help reduce hair loss for patients receiving chemotherapy.
The scalp-cooling machine has already been working very effectively at Cherrybrook Ward, the hospital’s outpatient chemotherapy unit. Professor Ann Craft, a patient at the hospital, has been benefiting from using the cap for six weeks. She said: “It was very painful at first but after 10 minutes the cold is more manageable. It’s been just amazing though and I haven’t lost any hair so far.”
Cherrybrook Matron Helen Daggar has been thrilled with the results. She said: “Losing your hair is a side effect that can be very difficult to come to terms with. We are delighted to have been gifted this new machine, as it means patients can benefit from improvements in the cap design, fitting and timings of wearing the device.”
The machine, which replaces an older model, was generously donated by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, in conjunction with the manufacturer Paxman. The charity raises money and awareness through power walking challenges, including midnight MoonWalk Marathons in both London and Edinburgh, and they have previously provided a £250,000 grant to Leicester hospitals to enable the purchase of cold caps.

How do cold caps prevent hair loss?

Cold caps are thought to slow down and prevent hair loss during cancer treatment by limiting blood flow to the scalp. Although adequate blood flow to the scalp is usually necessary for healthy hair, for someone undergoing chemotherapy, this same blood flow carries chemotherapy drugs to the hair follicles, which can attack healthy hair follicles and cause hair loss. Cool caps work by cooling the scalp before, during and after treatment. This restricts blood flow to the scalp and limits the extent of the drugs’ damaging effect on hair follicles.
The effectiveness of cold caps means that many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy now no longer need to wear a wig for the duration of their treatment.

Cold caps and other hair loss conditions

While cold caps have been shown to be highly effective for patients undergoing cancer treatment, the same cannot be said for those with other hair loss conditions, such as Alopecia. This is because other hair loss conditions need consistent blood flow to the scalp to trigger hair regrowth. Therefore, if you are experiencing hair loss from Alopecia or another naturally occurring hair loss condition, a cold cap is likely to be counterproductive.

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