The Paxman Scalp Cooling System
What is SCALP COOLING?
A Simple Definition: Scalp cooling is a simple procedure that can prevent alopecia caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System is a clinically proven non-drug treatment that greatly reduces chemotherapy-induced alopecia, or hair loss caused by chemotherapy. The safe, non-invasive treatment has been used throughout Europe and other countries on more than 100,000 patients with a variety of cancers, and it was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by breast cancer patients in the U.S.
Compass Oncology is proud to be among the first oncology practices in the Portland-metro area to offer this new advanced therapy that can help breast cancer patients have a better patient experience and a more positive attitude about their treatment.
Chemotherapy-induced alopecia can be one of the most distressing and troublesome side effects cancer patients face, often impacting their self-esteem, body image, sexuality, and over all well-being. Patients also lose their privacy, as hair loss is commonly associated with cancer treatment. Scalp cooling therapy offers a viable solution, greatly reducing the amount of hair loss that can occur with some drug regimens.
Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Scalp cooling reduces the damage chemotherapy causes to hair follicles by lowering the temperature of the scalp immediately before, during, and after chemotherapy. Cooling the scalp and keeping it at constant cool temperature causes the blood vessels in the scalp to constrict, reducing blood flow to the area around the hair follicles, preventing or minimizing hair loss.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System utilizes a soft lightweight silicone cap that is placed on the patient’s head. As coolant from a small compact refrigeration system passes through the cap, it extracts heat from the scalp. Temperature sensors ensure the scalp is kept at an even, constant temperature. The single patient use cap is placed on the patient a half-hour before chemotherapy is administered and worn during infusion. It remains on the patient for a maximum of 90 minutes after the chemotherapy is completed, depending on the type of drugs given.
Clinical research has shown that scalp cooling is very effective across a wide range of chemotherapy regimens. A recent multicenter clinical trial found that among women with stage I and II breast cancer who received chemotherapy with taxane, anthracycline, or both, those who underwent scalp cooling were significantly more likely to have less than 50% hair loss after the fourth chemotherapy cycle than those who received no scalp cooling.1 Moderate hair loss of 30% to 50% is expected after using the cold cap. There is no guarantee scalp cooling will prevent all patients undergoing chemotherapy from losing any or all of their hair, as success rates vary from patient to patient, depending on the chemotherapy regimen administered.
Breast cancer patients who are interested in learning more about scalp cooling are encouraged to ask their Compass Oncology provider.
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“WILL I BE ABLE TO KEEP ALL MY HAIR?”
Patients will lose some of their hair, and some patients will lose more than others. Every patient is different. Moderate hair loss (30-50%) is expected. If you don’t feel you have to wear a wig or a head cover, it is considered a success.
“HOW LONG DOES THE CAP HAVE TO BE WORN?”
The cap is worn for 30 minutes before the start of your chemotherapy, during the infusion of the drugs and for up to 90 minutes after drug infusion. You may be moved to a different area for the 90 minutes cooling.
“WHAT IS SCALP COOLING? ”
Scalp cooling is a simple treatment that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. The use of scalp cooling has been proven to be effective in preventing chemotherapy-induced alopecia, or hair loss, and can result in women retaining much of the hair.
“HOW COLD WILL IT BE”
Cold at first, but not unbearable. It is much less noticeable after 10 - 15 minutes. Deep breathing can help at the initial stages of scalp cooling. The benefits can include immediate relaxation as well as an improved ability to handle stress and calm down.
"WILL IT WORK FOR ME?”
There is a very good chance it will, but it cannot be guaranteed. It is important to understand that you may experience some hair loss. Success rates depend on many variable factors including the individual and the chemotherapy drugs being given. Your healthcare professionals will let you know if scalp cooling is likely to be successful with your chemotherapy treatment.
“WILL IT GIVE ME A HEADACHE?”
Generally not for most patients, but it does affect a small number. If after the first 20 minutes of scalp cooling you are still finding the cold hard to bear, consult your healthcare professionals, about taking a mild pain reliever, which may reduce your discomfort.
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