OncoCare Cancer Centre

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Patient Education

Can you prevent hair loss while on chemotherapy for cancer treatment?
Can you prevent hair loss while on chemotherapy for cancer treatment?

Can you prevent hair loss while on chemotherapy for cancer treatment?

Hair loss is one of the common side effects of chemotherapy and depending on the type of treatment, patient may lose hair in scalp, eyebrow, eyelashes, arms, legs and pubic hairs. This side effect can be emotionally challenging which can also affect oneself image and quality of life.

For decades, various methods have been used to cool the scalp, today, the most common scalp cooling system is easier to manage and more effective in the control of hair loss.


FAQs on Scalp Cooling Service During Chemotherapy:

  1. What causes hair loss during chemotherapy?
    Chemotherapy drugs are strong drugs that attacks rapidly growing cancer cells, but unfortunately these drugs also attack rapidly growing healthy cells like hairs all over the body.
  2. How does scalp cooling system help control hair loss during chemotherapy?
    Scalp cooling reduces the damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle. When cooled, the blood vessels in the scalp contracts, reducing blood flow to hair follicle which then restrict the amount of chemotherapy medication that gets into hair follicle. With less chemo medicine in the follicles, the hair may be less likely to fall out.
  3. How is it done?
    It is done by using a compact unit of cooling device and a special soft silicone cap which is placed on your head. A special coolant flows through this connection to lower and maintain the scalp temperature throughout the treatment period.
    You will probably feel cold when having scalp cooling. Wearing warm clothes and drinking hot drinks will help you feel warmer.
  4. How effective is scalp cooling? Could I still lose my hair?
    The amount of hair you’re left with after scalp cooling depends on how much hair you start with and how healthy your hair and scalp are before you start treatment. It also depends on the type and dose of the chemotherapy medication you’re getting. For more information, talk with our doctor and nurses. They can tell you if it is available and suitable for you.
  5. Are there any risks to doing scalp cooling?
    There is a small risk of irritation on your scalp or forehead from cooling.
    Some people worry about cancer cells traveling to the scalp and growing. There is a very small chance of this happening and it isn’t affected by the use of scalp cooling.