Cold Cap Therapy

 

Cold Cap Therapy System

 

Cold cap therapy aims to reduce hair loss while patients undergo chemotherapy treatment.

 

It is a system of cooling the scalp using a specially designed lightweight cap that is fitted to the patient’s head prior to chemotherapy, for the duration of the treatment and for some time after the chemotherapy infusion is completed. Importantly, the system can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual patients, taking into account their health, hair type, chemotherapy program and treatment levels.

 

Adelaide Cancer Centre was the first private facility in Australia to use the system for their patients and our Day Hospital operators, Icon Cancer Care, have recently purchased the newest technology provided by the Paxman system.

 

 

How does the system work?

 

The key element in the success of the cap is lowering the surface temperature of the scalp. The Paxman system consists of a small compact refrigeration unit containing a special coolant which is circulated at -4°C through coolant lines to specially designed cooling caps.  The coolant lines are supported by an adjustable arm, providing maximum patient comfort.

 

It works by narrowing blood vessels beneath the skin – thereby reducing the amount of drugs reaching hair follicles – and by lowering the metabolism of the follicles, making them less susceptible to damage.

 

 

How long does it take to work?

 

The degree of hair loss patients with cancer experience depends largely on the type of chemotherapy drug and the dosage being administered; thus the length of time required for the effective use of the cold caps is dependent on these factors.

 

How is the cap applied?

 

A soft pliable silicone cap is fitted to the head, and the cold cap applied. An adjustable Velcro strap will help to keep the cap comfortably in place.  The cap is then connected to the refrigeration unit by a flexible arm.

 

What are the side effects?

 

Generally cold caps are tolerated very well by patients; however, there are some minor side effects including short-term headache and feeling cold.

 

How successful is the cap?

 

It can prevent hair loss in up to 80% of patients and is particularly effective against the drugs used in treating breast cancer.

 

Do patients need to use the caps regularly?

 

To assist in preventing hair loss, cold caps need to be used before, during and for a specific length of time after each chemotherapy cycle; however if at any stage patients feel uncomfortable or no longer wish to use them, please alert the medical or nursing staff.