New therapy reduces hair loss in chemo patients

| 14/07/2016
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Lizzy Cronin, of; Janette Fitzgerald, of the Breast Cancer Foundation; and former chemo patient Tori Croft

(CNS): The Health Services Authority (HSA) chemotherapy unit is offering a special therapy that may help prevent or reduce hair loss among chemo patients. The Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) recently donated 50 hypothermia caps, also known as “cold caps” and a biometric freezer to the unit. The caps will be used for scalp hypothermia, a process that involves the cooling of a person’s scalp before, during, and after each chemo treatment.

The cooling constricts blood vessels in the scalp, which is thought to reduce the amount of chemo that reaches the cells of the hair follicles. The cold also decreases the activity of the hair follicles making them less attractive to chemotherapy drugs, which targets rapidly dividing cells. This reduces the effect of chemo on the follicle cells and, as a result, prevents or reduces hair loss.

The cold caps are stored in the donated biometric freezer. “Being diagnosed with cancer, any kind of cancer, is one of the most frightening times in a person’s life,” said Janette Fitzgerald of the Breast Cancer Foundation. “After the initial shock and confusion most people begin the research phase. Choosing surgeons, oncologists and treatment choices is an extremely difficult process.

“For most, the added trauma of losing their hair during chemotherapy is an added burden they are forced to bear on the journey to becoming cancer free. The BCF identified that there was a way that we could help to ease that trauma by helping patients keep their hair.”

Fitzgerald added that cold caps have been used in the UK for many years, with a very high success rate. The BCF wanted to offer patients the option to try to retain their hair.

CNS Local Life

Lizzy Cronin demonstrates applying a cold cap on Tori Croft

The foundation funded the purchase of all the equipment and BCF also brought over a trainer from the US to instruct the hospital’s staff on how to administer the cold caps. Local company Andro shipped and delivered the equipment for free.

Lizzy Cronin, founder and owner of Chemo Cold Caps, based in Texas, came to Cayman to train the staff. She demonstrated the proper technique on Tori Croft, a Cayman resident who finished her chemotherapy treatment and did not lose her hair, nor did Cronin when she was being treated for breast cancer four years ago.

“It’s nice to be able to offer patients the cold cap treatment. I am all for anything that will make our patients feel better about themselves,” said chemotherapy nurse Andrew Ward.

HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood added, “For both male and female cancer patients, the experience of losing their hair as a result of chemotherapy can be quite emotionally traumatic.

“Therefore, the HSA welcomes and greatly appreciates these donations made by the Breast Cancer Foundation in their effort to reduce the chances of this occurring. We look forward to our patients utilising this added therapy and experiencing the benefits it offers.”

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Category: Medical and Health

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