Chemo Cold Caps

 

Chemo Cold Caps

chemo cold cap is a new device that stands to pull focus away from one of the most important aspects of Cancer treatmentsHair loss. Our hair makes us feel special and defines our sense of style. But what do you do when you lose your hair to a disease? A lot of diseases affect the body but none have a head -to-toe effects like Cancer. About 1,660,290 new cases of Cancer will be diagnosed in 2013 (American Cancer Society). Those people facing this terrible disease won’t be able to hide it because the treatments causing hair loss. Cancer hair loss, also known as Chemotherapy-induced alopecia, the main side-affect of Cancer, may now be a preventable one with these chemo cold caps.

Concept

In simple terms, super-cold temperatures, delivered via these chemo cold caps, would slow the blood flow to the hair follicles, thus preventing the chemotherapy drugs from attacking the hair. These chemo cold caps have been sold all over the world and are gaining popularity here in the U.S. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the concept for use in the U.S. but that has not stopped Cancer patients using them. However, using non-FDA approved products is at ones own risk. Chemo cold caps can be ordered online from several companies. I discovered one company seeking FDA approval in order to market this as a medical device and have it covered by insurance. That company is Sweden’s Dignitana. Their product, patented under DigniCap™, held clinical trials in Scandinavia, Russia, and Japan and results showed eight out of ten patients kept their hair and a wig was not necessary. The U.S. is well on its way to getting this device on the market because the FDA has ordered studies to determine the viability of these cold caps.

The average cost for each unit is around $500. The demand is there but since insurance doesn’t cover the cost, there is a foundation that has emerged to assist patients wanting to use the chemo cold caps.  Cold Caps Assistance Project (CCAPS) is a non-profit group located in Austin, Texas founded by a Cancer survivor who used chemo cold caps during her treatment. Even though she experienced hair loss after the first chemo treatment, the cold cap therapy prevented further damage. In addition to providing funding, CCAPS helps educate the medical community on the benefits of using this device.

Someday there will be a cure for Cancer but until then, any medicine or medical device created to ease the pain and suffering, is a welcome addition to this fight!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Chemo Cold Caps

  1. I’m currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer and decided to use Penguin Cold Caps to try to keep my hair. My doctor is old school and told me not to bother with it, that the caps didn’t work and just “go bald” but I felt it was worth the cost to take a chance on it working. I feel lucky that I followed my own intuition. I’ve completed two rounds of chemo so far and I still have a full head of hair. Even my oncologist was floored when she saw me for my follow up appointment. She told me that I should have been completely bald three weeks back and it’s obvious that the caps are working very well. It’s expensive and a hassle and therefore not something everyone can do but it’s great to at least have this option. I’m able to go out into the world and no one knows I’m being treated for cancer unless I tell them. This has been the only part of this entire ordeal that I’ve felt I had some control over and it’s been very empowering for me. After doing a lot of research on the subject, I found that the risk of using the caps is nearly nil. They have been used in Europe for years and several hospitals around the U.S. offer the caps to rent for their patients. UCLA and some of the major cancer hospitals in the L.A. area keep special freezers in their infusion centers just for people who want to use the caps. It seems clear to me that if the risk of using the caps was substantial, you would not see this kind of openness in some of these medical settings. It’s only a matter of time until the FDA gives approval. The only thing I would like to mention to people considering the cold cap is that you want to do some research to be sure that the chemo medications you will be utilizing will be effective with the caps. Women using TC chemo for breast cancer seem to do very well with the caps; women using ACT chemo for breast cancer seem to have less effectiveness with the caps. Thanks for sharing this information with people!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s