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cold caps against hair loss cold caps against hair loss

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Unread 12-08-2003, 02:06 PM
cold caps against hair loss

Hi all,

I haven't seen anything on the site about cold caps during chemo therapy and thought I would share my experience. Supposedly these caps can be effective to prevent hair loss.

I had my first chemo session 10 days ago (cisplatin and epirubicin). The nurse gave me a cold cap about a half hour before I got the epirubicin (goes by several names) and I wore it for about another half hour after I had finished receiving the drug. My cold cap was low-tech -- nothing more than a thick neoprene head cover that looked like a variation of a diver's wet suit and that had been wetted down and put in the freezer overnight. The idea is that the cold keeps the blood flow from going to the head during the treatment and that this will minimize or stop hair loss. (apparently there are also high tech versions that involve tubes and pumping cold water)

Does it work?? I don't know yet. I'm still waiting since I've been told the hair comes out during the 2nd and 3rd week. The dr and nurses say that it varies from person to person but that it can make a big difference. I'll let you know how it turns out for me.

Has anyone else used a cold cap? What did you think?

Anyway I'm going shopping for some cool scarves or a wild wig, just in case!
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Unread 12-08-2003, 02:39 PM
cold caps

Hi Zekie
How timely your information is. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 days ago and start chemo on Wednesday. My 8 yr old son is terrified that I will lose my hair and all the kids at school will laugh at him. I was told about the cold cap, but warned that it can be painful to use. As my first chemo treatment (FEC) is due to last 4-5 hours, an honest assessment of how uncomfortable these things are would be real helpful right now.

I'm heading out "hair shopping" tomorrow anyway, but I'm on total overload and could really use some advice here.

I have my fingers crossed for you.

Unread 12-08-2003, 02:54 PM
cold caps against hair loss

Hi Zekie,

When I started chemo, a year and a half ago, someone did tell me about those caps or something very similiar. I asked my oncologist and her response was, "If there was really anything that could prevent hair from falling out during chemo, don't you think we all would have known about it already and been using it".

Look you have nothing to lose. Give it a shot, I know that I probably would have.

Good Luck and let us know how you make out. My hair did not fall out until about a week after my second chemo. I had, and still do have, very thick healthy hair.

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Unread 12-08-2003, 03:59 PM
cold caps against hair loss

Hi Zekie

Many of us received taxol, for which a short infusion was three hours, many longer. I think I would rather be bald than have an iced head for three hours.
Yikes!!! I shiver at the thought.
Hope it helps you. But if you do go bald, your child will assume your positive attitude about your baldness.

oxoxo karenann
Unread 12-08-2003, 10:05 PM
cold cap

One of the women in my fusion room brought coolers filled with ice packs and she wore them throughout her chemo. She kept her hair although it did thin out. The chemo nurses said that keeping the head cold did prevent the chemo from reaching and killing the hair follicles. If I am ever on a chemo that cause hair loss I'm going to try it. Why not?

I hope it works for you! Let us know.
Unread 12-09-2003, 01:04 AM
cold caps against hair loss

Hi again,

I wore the cap for about an hour. It wasn't as bad as I thought although the nurses said some people can tolerate it and others find it too unpleasant. I thought it kinda felt as if I were swimming in cool lake and would not have had problems wearing it longer. Mine was too big and it kind of hung over my eyes but that was more comical...made everybody laugh so that's good! Still, they say I will at the very least have some thinning, perhaps that I can tell but others can't see. Or else I will lose all or most regardless. Whatever, I'm resigned. But I am going to keep up the cold cap through my treatments. I was thinking that if they didn't have them here that I could've bought a few neoprene wetsuit caps and frozen them up. During my treatment we changed caps mid-way to make sure they were cold.

On another note, my friend who has been through chemo and is a devoted bird watcher, said that she could accept the hair loss because she imagined herself as a beautiful bird moulting its feathers. And she knew they would grow back!

Love and courage
Unread 12-09-2003, 04:11 AM
cold caps against hair loss


I have a friend who was treated with chemo for breast cancer and she used what she called her 'ice helmet'. She did not lose her hair. It just thinned slightly. Hope this helps.

Unread 12-09-2003, 01:28 PM
cold caps against hair loss

I still am skeptical. All of those women who did not lose all their hair but only thinned,,,,,,What kind of chemo did they have?? Not all chemos will give you hair loss.

Just another thought.

Unread 12-10-2003, 02:11 PM
cold caps against hair loss

Hi Zekie,
I read all about cold caps, aka scalp cooling, last year when I was undergoing chemo. The technique seems to be used widely in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia, but not much in the US. I remember one hospital actually had special freezers installed to store the caps.

According to the study I read, there was an 80% success rate. It did say that some patients were unable to tolerate the cold, which accounted for the other 20%! It also said there were certain chemo combinations it might not work for, but I can't imagine them having you try a cap if that was true in your case.

Please keep us up to date on your progress, this is such an interesting topic.

Unread 12-11-2003, 05:43 PM
Loss of hair due to chemo

My first post!

I just finished my treatments in October (6 rounds of Taxol and Carboplatin) - and my hair is just starting to grow back...I didn't use the cold caps b/c like many of you, heard they didn't work...but I hope they do for you!!! I looked into everything to prevent losing my hair (nothing seemed to be the cure-all)!! I did get a wig for special occasions (Raquel Welch's are really natural) and my insurance paid for it - get a prescription from your doctor and depending on insurance, you can get it covered. A lot of people have NO idea it is a wig!! Hats and scarves are great for everyday too.

It ***** to lose your hair...mine is just coming back at the stubble phase, and can't wait to have it back!! My eyebrows and eyelashes are almost fully back.

I had ovarian cancer (they think Stage 1B) and a total hysterectomy last April...I am 30 and have no children.

Feel free to email me with questions!!

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