Can Cooling Devices Prevent Chemotherapy Hair Loss?

Can Cooling Devices Prevent Chemotherapy Hair Loss? Normally, the cells in the body multiply, grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells continue to grow and grow uncontrollably. Chemotherapy works by killing cancer cells, preventing them from spreading and slowing their growth. These cancer-killing drugs are powerful drugs that attack rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, besides those cancer cells, these drugs also attack other fast-growing cells in your body, including those in your hair follicles. Some chemotherapy drugs cause more hair loss than others, and different doses can only cause thinning to complete hair loss. Fortunately, hair loss from chemotherapy is often temporary.

Hair usually begins to fall two to four weeks after starting chemotherapy treatment. Your hair can fall very quickly in clusters or gradually. Furthermore, it will continue during your treatment and last for a few weeks. Cancer treatment is a difficult process, and it is very important that the patient is in a good psychological state during the treatment. Most cancer patients state that the worst part of the chemotherapy treatment is hair loss since losing their hair also affects them psychologically. Therefore, anything that can prevent hair loss during chemotherapy is very important for them. Fortunately, some cooling devices that you may apply on your scalp during chemotherapy can prevent hair loss.

How Does It Work? 

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), cooling the scalp of patients before chemotherapy prevents hair loss. The reason for this is this; your scalp feeds the hair follicles through blood vessels. When you undergo chemotherapy, the medicine penetrates into your hair follicles through capillaries under your scalp. Applying cold to the scalp will cause less chemotherapy to reach the hair follicles since it will narrow the vessels. So, you will experience less hair loss. In JAMA’s research, 180 patients who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer were observed. The patients used cooling devices for thirty minutes before the chemotherapy. Most of the patients experienced less hair loss after using cooling devices.

In another study, a hundred patients tried a different kind of cooling cap while fifteen other patients did not use anything before their chemotherapy. As a result, it turned out that after applying chemotherapy treatment for four weeks, patients using the cooling cap have almost no hair fall. 

Is It Safe? 

In these two studies with different cooling techniques, the researches could not find any major side effects. We can even say that patients who undergo chemotherapy treatment using cooling devices have increased the quality of their life.

Although the use of cooling devices in chemotherapy is not very common yet, the Food and Drug Administration already started to examine the devices. These devices that prevent hair loss during chemotherapy will become widespread in the near future. All these developments are very promising for patients who need to undergo chemotherapy.

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