The importance of scalp cooling to manage chemotherapy-induced alopecia  

28 March 2024
Patient having paxman scalp cooling cap fitted

Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is a distressing side effect that affects many patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. While the primary goal of chemotherapy treatment is to eradicate cancer cells, the rapidly dividing nature of the healthy cells that produce hair on the scalp can also be affected, resulting in hair loss. CIA usually starts between 14 and 21 days after a patient’s first chemotherapy treatment and can have significant psychological and emotional repercussions.  

Find out more from the Canadian Cancer Society about hair loss during chemotherapy here

Scalp cooling is the only clinically proven method to manage hair loss during chemotherapy through both hair retention and then later, faster hair regrowth. This treatment, which Paxman believes should be accessible to everyone, offers patients a range of benefits during what is most likely the toughest challenge of their lives. 

Preserving self-esteem and confidence 

Hair loss can be emotionally devastating to cancer patients; looking in the mirror with CIA is an instant reminder of cancer and a visible sign of illness. It can also cause self-esteem issues around others and denies the patient any privacy. With scalp cooling, patients have an opportunity to retain some of their hair and maintain a sense of normalcy, so much so that some patients can easily keep their diagnosis to themselves and continue with their lives. This is an important factor in maintaining a cancer patient’s wellbeing and overall quality of life.  

Privacy 

A patient that has lost all their hair to chemotherapy, particularly women, find it much more difficult to conceal their cancer diagnosis from others. Hair retention through scalp cooling allows a patient the choice to disclose their cancer to others on their own terms rather than it being immediately apparent to others. It allows patients to keep their treatment journey private if they wish to, without feeling self-conscious or exposed in social or professional situations.  

In addition, it helps patients retain a sense of normalcy for their families, with many patients choosing to scalp cool to help reassure and protect their children.  

Continuation of treatment 

Hair loss is one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy and can sometimes lead to patients refusing or delaying treatment. With the option of scalp cooling, clinicians can address this fear and encourage patients to complete the chemotherapy regime that has been prescribed.  

Empowerment and control 

Chemotherapy can take a significant toll on a person and lead them to feel like cancer has taken away their quality of life. By opting to scalp cool, patients can feel a greater sense of control over what is happening to them. This empowerment and autonomy can have a profound impact on a patient’s well-being and resilience during treatment.  

Preventing persistent CIA 

Scalp cooling has been proven to help protect the scalp from persistent alopecia which can be an unfortunate consequence of some chemotherapy regimens. Whilst some patients may lose more than 50% of their hair during chemotherapy, protecting their scalp for the future is also just as important.  

Scalp cooling is not only important for its physical benefits of hair retention and regrowth but is also vital for helping patients psychologically and emotionally navigate through the most challenging obstacle in their lives. It encourages patients to accept their chemotherapy regimen whilst offering patients control over their diagnosis, privacy on their own terms, and a sense of normalcy whilst they fight their cancer.  

MDL No. 86975
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