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Cold Cap Therapy

A cancer diagnosis is difficult enough without the prospect of losing your hair, a common side effect among patients who undergo chemotherapy to help cure or control the disease.

That’s why at Tidelands Health Cancer Care Network, an affiliate of MUSC Health, we offer innovative technology that can help reduce or eliminate hair loss among chemotherapy patients. Using the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, most eligible patients are able to preserve at least 50 percent of their hair.

The Science

An illustration featuring the cold cap technologyWhen you undergo chemotherapy, the medication targets rapidly dividing cells – both healthy and cancerous – in your body. Hair follicles, which are some of the fastest-growing cells in your body, can be damaged in the process.

Scalp cooling works by reducing the temperature of your scalp before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. The goal is to reduce the amount of chemotherapy medication that can reach your hair follicles by narrowing the blood vessels beneath the skin of your scalp.

The Process

To cool your scalp, you’ll wear a snug, helmet-style hat, commonly called a cold cap, filled with a cold gel.

In most cases, you’ll put on the cap for about 30 minutes before treatment and continue wearing it for another 90 minutes afterward. Temperature within the caps is maintained by a computer-controlled cooling unit that circulates the gel within the cap.

Eligibility

The Paxman system can be used to help patients with solid tumor cancers that are treated with chemotherapy. People with certain medical conditions or types of cancer or who are undergoing certain types of chemotherapy regimens may not be eligible. Your clinician can help determine whether scalp cooling therapy is right for you.

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