Scalp cooling is a convenient way to preserve hair during cancer treatment

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Patients undergoing cancer treatment may be able to preserve their hair through scalp cooling, a process that cools the hair follicles during chemotherapy treatment, thereby narrowing blood vessels and decreasing the amount of medication reaching the hairline. hair.

Although scalp cooling devices were approved by the Food and Drug Administration only a few years ago, implementing the use of cold caps in community cancer centers is feasible and beneficial for patients, according to a recent study presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Oncology Nursing Society.

“Chemotherapy-induced alopecia is a side effect of many cancer treatments, and it is one of the most feared side effects in over 75% of patients,” the study author said. Linda Amacher, oncology infusion nurse at Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin, during the presentation of the results at the conference.

After reviewing the research supporting that cold caps were safe and effective, and realizing that patients and providers were interested in their use, Amacher and his team set out to determine if and how scalp cooling could be brought to their hospital.

Read more: FDA clears AMMA, a scalp cooling device to prevent chemotherapy-related hair loss in cancer patients

Less than a week after nurses were trained in scalp cooling, the first patient used a cold cap during treatment. Since then, 15 patients have enrolled in the Cold Cap program, with over 80 treatments successfully completed.

“Patients who completed all treatments (with cold caps) expressed high satisfaction on our evaluation form and are happy to report that they retain over 50% of their expected hair,” Amacher said.

The team’s presentation included a quote from a patient who used a cold cap for hair preservation. The individual said: “It really sucks going through cancer treatment…I’m so glad I had a scalp chill…I’m so grateful to have had this chance to save my hair and keep a part of my identity.”

This study has proven that implementing a scalp cooling program is certainly feasible in many cancer centers and as such can continue to grow. This will be the case for the campuses of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“There was rapid adoption by nurses and the processes were integrated into clinical and infusion workflows without major issues,” Amacher said. “After successfully launching scalp cooling at our Froedtert West Bend Cancer Center, we now plan to offer scalp cooling at our second location in Oak Creek in the summer of 2022.”

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