Scalp cooling may help patients undergoing chemotherapy save their hair

One of the more disturbing parts of some chemotherapy regimens, at least for my female patients, is the partial or complete loss of their hair. There’s been almost nothing we physicians could do about this problem … but that may be changing:

The Washington Post reports that while undergoing chemotherapy, some cancer patients are trying to save their hair by wearing “a gel-filled helmet” that is “frozen to a temperature of 30 degrees below zero.”

The theory “is that cold prevents hair follicles from absorbing the chemotherapy drugs, either ‘by reducing blood flow to the hair follicles or by causing freezing of the cells, which makes them less permeable.'”

However, the Food and Drug Administration remains “cautious” and “has not granted permission to any company to market scalp-cooling devices, according to spokesman Dick Thompson.”

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