Innovative cooling treatment prevents hair loss during chemotherapy

A woman undergoing chemotherapy was able to keep her hair, all due to a special cooling treatment.


Jennifer Bruck’s hair began growing back after her treatment for stage 1B breast cancer in 2019.


But the following year, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer.

"I lost all my hair during that treatment and very quickly, within two weeks of starting that treatment, I lost all of that, and then I was good," Bruck said. "The first round, it was difficult to see no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, and it just kind of makes you look like a completely different person."

Bruck didn’t want to lose her hair again. That’s where the Paxman cooling system came in.

Rachael Schmidt of Nebraska Medicine’s Cancer Survivorship Program explained, "It's a cap and, basically, it circulates cold fluid through it. and the machine keeps it at a regulated temperature, just to make sure that it's even through the entire cap."

Schmidt said chemotherapy patients wear the cap during their treatments, as well as before and after.

She explained that chemo goes after quickly dividing cells, which includes hair, adding, "So with the scalp cooling, what it does is it helps reduce blood flow to the hair follicles and will help to prevent hair loss."

According to Schmidt, the cap proved significantly more effective for some than for others.

"Not everybody is a great candidate," she said. "Some chemotherapies, the efficacy is 25 percent. for others, it goes up to 100 percent."

And for patients like Bruck, being able to keep your hair goes far beyond vanity.

"They said that I would probably still lose about 40 percent of my hair and I have not really lost any," she said. "You look in the mirror and you still see you."

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