The effectiveness of scalp-cooling in the prevention of hair loss during early stage breast cancer chemotherapy was confirmed this week by two studies published in JAMA, one by the University of California and the other by the Baylor College of Medicine. The technique has been used since the 1970’s, but the first FDA approval was only given in December 2015 to the Swedish DigniCap.
Hair loss is a common side-effect of chemotherapy. As chemo targets rapidly dividing cells, it sometimes takes out hair cells which are the second most rapid dividing cells, thus causing the tell-tale hair loss of chemo. Caps are not currently widely available in the US and it is hoped that these studies will push insurance companies to improve coverage.
The DigniCap has been used by 3,000 patients in Mexico and is available in four hospitals: Centro Medico ABC, in Mexico City; Centro Oncológico Estatal ISSEMYM, in Toluca; Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad de Zumpango, in the State of Mexico, and since yesterday it is also available in Hospital Zambrano Hellion, in Monterrey.
The New York Times
Paxman Scalp Cooling