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SABCS: Scalp-Cooling System Can Reduce Chemo-Related Hair Loss

Last Updated: December 09, 2016.

Cooling the scalp with a specialized cap during chemotherapy sessions could help breast cancer patients avoid treatment-related hair loss, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 6 to 10 in Texas.

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Cooling the scalp with a specialized cap during chemotherapy sessions could help breast cancer patients avoid treatment-related hair loss, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 6 to 10 in Texas.

Julie Rani Nangia, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues enrolled 235 women with stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer who were planning to receive at least four cycles of anthracycline- or taxane-based chemotherapy. Participants were split into two groups. One group included two-thirds of the women. This group received scalp cooling. The other third received no cooling.

After four cycles of chemotherapy, 50.5 percent of patients in the cooling group experienced hair preservation, compared with none in the non-cooling group, the study findings showed.

Fitted to a patient's head, the cold caps were in place 30 minutes before chemotherapy began, for the entire chemotherapy session, and for 90 minutes after chemotherapy, Nangia explained. The cold cap cooled patients' scalps to 64 degrees, she told HealthDay, and side effects were mild, including headache and discomfort. "The big downside is it adds an hour onto [total] chemotherapy time," Nangia said.

The study was funded by the manufacturer of the cold caps, Paxman Cooling.

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