Preventing Chemotherapy Hair Loss
Hair loss during chemotherapy has a major impact on quality of life. Some patients rate hair loss as one of the most negative aspects of their chemotherapy. Scalp cooling with various cold caps has emerged as a means to reduce the chances of hair loss during chemotherapy. In December 2015 the Dignicap was FDA cleared and now this month the Paxman cooling system received FDA clearance.
In the Dignicap study, 67 of 101 women in the study who used the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System (66.3%) lost less than half of their hair, when followed for a month after the last chemotherapy cycle. In comparison, all women who did not receive scalp cooling lost more than half of their hair. The most common chemotherapy regimen was docetaxel/cyclophosphamide for 4-6 cycles.
In the Paxman trial, patients receiving scalp cooling wore the device for 30 minutes before their chemotherapy treatment, for the duration of their treatment, and for 90 minutes following treatment. These women had stage 1 or 2 breast cancer and were receiving a broader range of chemotherapies. Out of the 95 patients who used the Paxman device, 48 (50.5 percent) lost less than 50 % of their hair (meaning no wig or scarf was needed, compared to 0 (0 percent) in the no cooling group.
Conclusion: Scalp cooling is a highly effective method to reduce hair loss associated with certain types of chemotherapy. I thank Richard Paxman for sharing with me a photo of the newly FDA cleared device.
Effect of a Scalp Cooling Device on Alopecia in Women Undergoing Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer: The SCALP Randomized Clinical Trial.
Randomized controlled trial
Nangia J, et al. JAMA. 2017.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299