Improved therapy to help reduce hair loss for chemo patients

| 20/06/2019 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life
(L-R, standing) Chemotherapy nurses Rosanna Humphreys-Johnson, Andrew Ward and Maria Estevan; scalp-cooling system trainer Freddy Rozentzvaig; and BCF members Lydia Forbes and Deirdre Byrne; (kneeling) chemotherapy nurse manager Karen Pinnock

(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) chemotherapy unit has upgraded its cold cap therapy for patients hoping to prevent or reduce the loss of their hair as a result of chemotherapy. The scalp cooling system will improve efficiency of the treatment and provide a more comfortable experience for users. 

Donated by the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), the system uses scalp hypothermia, a process that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs, by cooling a person’s scalp for a period of time before, during, and after each chemotherapy treatment, said an HSA press release.

The current cold caps used are similar to ice packs as they thaw out during a chemotherapy infusion session and need to be replaced with a new cap about every 25 minutes. With scalp-cooling systems, however, the cap is attached to a small refrigeration machine that circulates coolant, so the cap only has to be fitted once and does not need to be changed during treatment.

Chemotherapy nurse manager Karen Stewart said the new system is more comfortable for patients than the original cold-cap therapy by eliminating the need to replace the cap. “The scalp-cooling system now reduces the level of discomfort, thus improving the overall patient experience. The system also improves efficiency for our nursing staff who can now allocate the time it would take to refit a patient’s cold cap to providing additional care to more patients.”

The Paxman Scalp Cooling System has proven to be an effective way of combatting chemotherapy-induced hair loss, resulting in a high level of retention or complete preservation of hair, the HSA said in the release, adding it gave patients the opportunity to “regain some control, maintain their privacy and encourage a positive attitude towards treatment”.

One chemotherapy patient said of the new treatment, “I was thrilled to hear of such an advancement in possibly reducing hair loss and preserving some sort of normalcy in my appearance. I am proud that the Cayman Islands has access to this new technology and wholeheartedly recommend it with any approved chemotherapy regimen and as an aid to a better quality life and overall personal well-being.”

BCF board member Kim Lund said the foundation was pleased to donate the equipment. “Breast cancer patients have enough trauma in their lives without also having to lose their hair, so hopefully this new system will alleviate a burdensome side effect of the chemotherapy.”

HSA Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson said the authority “thanks the Breast Cancer Foundation for their many years of contribution to cancer survivors throughout our islands and recognise the significant impact their support has, assisting our organisation to continue to provide high-quality care to our patients and their families.”

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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