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Cold Cap Therapy: Or how to keep your hair through chemo

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sep 2010
Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 569
Joined: Jul 2012

Has anyone ever tried this or know someone who has?  I just wonder if these really works

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

We should all pitch in, buy one of those caps for $1,500, cover it in motivational stickers and ship to each other via FedEx. 

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sep 2010

I know a number of women who have used these and they kept their hair.  I saw one of them just a month ago.  She was nearing the end of treatment and had a full head of long hair.  They do seem to work.  I think the article has a pretty high success rate for them.

Looks like they will be starting a clinical trial for these:

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cold-caps-tested-prevent-hair-loss-during-chemo-6C10704516

Alexandra, I do think there may be some sort of loaner program for these so you don't have to buy them.  My cancer center had one, but I didn't start going there until after I had lost my hair.  I did use an ice pack instead and had 1/2 inch of hair at the end of my treatments.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

I know for a fact that my cancer center doesn't have these caps. You're lucky. I would like to test it out, not that I want more chemo, just curious.

Web-site quotes $400/month for rent with $500 deposit. I figure for 4 months of chemo (6x3weeks) rent will be more expensive than buying.

Temperature (-22F) for several hours will definitely cause contact frostbite. When I was little I got chin frostbite and that place had vitiligo ever since.

I used ice socks during my last 3 rounds of chemo, hoping to reduce neuropathy - and it didn't really work for me, but some people swear by it. I saw a woman holding 2 thermoses filled with ice for the duration of the chemo.

Cliver
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2018

I am in round 4 of AC, and have lost very little of my (waist length chestnut) hair, less than 10 percent.  I start 12x Taxol shortly and plan to continue using the cold cap.  My oncology doctor suggested it and, after doing research on the 3-4 systems re prices, ease of use, etc., I settled on Arctic Cold Caps.  It's costing me $379 per month to rent.  You get a large ice chest with 8 caps in it, plus the various other items you need like gloves, moleskin for your forehead etc.  Practice a few days ahead with non-frozen caps - it is not a difficult process but you DO need someone to come with you to chemo as you have to swap out the caps every 20 minutes from the start of the infusion to 4 hours after the infusion is finished, and you can't really do it with a line into your arm - my spouse comes to some appointments and we have a group of friends who are taking turns when spouse has to work.  It is a bit strange but minimally uncomfortable - a minute or two of "ice cream headache" for each cap then just a bit chilly.  The cost is pretty equivalent to a couple of nice looking wigs, and is covered by Seciton 125 flexible spending plans.  I hope that helps, let me know if you need more info.  DEFINITELY worth trying.

 

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 737
Joined: Jul 2010

Twenty-five years ago my best friend had breast cancer and was told she would lose her hair for sure , they did have the cold caps and she used them and never lost her hair, it thinned but that was it.

  There is some debate on the use of the caps; they can protect your hair but is it wise to impede the chemo from reaching every cell possible? They say ovarian cancer rarely mets to the brain but there are too many cases for my comfort.

Colleen

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sep 2010

Colleen,

The first article indicates that there is only a 1% chance that a cell "protected" from chemo by the cold would result in an errant cancer cell turning into a tumor. 

123Miley's picture
123Miley
Posts: 94
Joined: Jan 2013

The silver lining to being bald is you don't have to jack with your hair AND you have a good excuse!   I had hair past my shoulders when I was diagnosed - loved my hair.  Curly, straight, up down etc.  But dang it was a lot of work!  I have been bald twice over the past six years, so have had opportunities to grow it back but didn't.  It is still short.  It's easy as pie and my husband and friends love it!  So I am like - go back to hair dryers and curlers, tons of product etc?  Oh perish the thought!  LOL!  

On a serious note it is an intreaging prospect for sure.   Given the opportunity I would NOT have chosen to lose my hair.  I totally get, not just the emotional aspect but also the complications that can come with having to live with and or explain baldness.  

Technology and medicine are wonderful things!   Hopefully we will ge to the point where we won't even need to have this conversation!

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sep 2010

I saw someone comment on cold caps.  She said she was offerred them at no charge 25 years ago, when battling breast cancer. 

Now, with ovarian cancer, no one knows what she's talking about when she asks about them.

Today, patients have to jump through many hoops to get these and they are fairly expensive. 

It's a shame that things such as this, which support patients through treatment, are not readily available and seem to be less available than in the past.

Cliver
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2018

I found they are about the same price as a couple of decent wigs - currently renting Arctic Cold Cap at $379 per month.  There were no hoops at all, just contact the company via their website and arrange for shipment with a credit card.  Another good company is Penguin but they were a bit more expensive and I found the Arctic company rep more friendly.  Not sure if cold caps were actually in use 25 years ago - a more complicated version got FDA approval about 5 years ago but involves the clinic having a set-up at their location so not the best plan for patients.  Maybe the "free of charge" was in an experimental phase?

So far my hair loss has been minimal (4x AC, about to go into 12x Taxol) and I plan to continue using the cap through the whole chemo run.  You DO have to have someone go with you to put on the cap and you have to swap it out every 20 minutes, which you can't really do with a line into your arm.  But otherwise it is not difficult.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sep 2010

Thanks, Cliver, for your first-hand experience.  If I had to do it again, I would definitely give them a try.  Good luck with your treatments.

jammywilson1
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2014

IN winter season everyone needs cap to cover the head to prevent from the cold. Now a day the atmospheric gas also becoming bad day to day that hampering the hair and meant to hair loss. [Content removed by site administrator.] So many cancer patients also like to wear cap after the chemo.

WarriorS1's picture
WarriorS1
Posts: 49
Joined: Apr 2018

I remember hearing one of my Oncology nurses at the University of Wisconsin saying she is working with women using cold caps and they too have had a lot of expense. I personally did not look into it as I had shaved my head prior to chemo as I just did not want to bother with the mess and have no issues being bald.  It is easy as pie to take care of with everything else going on. I also did not know about cold caps.  

I can look into what the Univerisity of Wisconsin recommends and will post. If I cannot find anything on their site. I go bac on June 1st for Cycle 5 and will ask and then post.

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