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New therapy to reduce hair loss trauma for chemo patients

The Health Services Authority (HSA) Chemotherapy Unit now offers cold cap therapy that may help to prevent or reduce hair loss among chemotherapy patients thanks to a donation made by the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF).The BCF recently donated 50 hypothermia caps, also known as, “cold caps” and a bio-metric freezer to the Chemotherapy Unit.These cold caps will be used for scalp hypothermia, a process that involves the cooling of a person’s scalp for a period of time before, during, and after each chemotherapy (chemo) treatment.With this treatment the cooling tightens or constricts blood vessels in the scalp. This constriction is thought to reduce the amount of chemo that reaches the cells of the hair follicles. The cold also decreases the activity of the hair follicles making them less attractive to chemotherapy drugs, which targets rapidly dividing cells. This reduces the effect of chemo on the follicle cells and, as a result, prevents or reduces hair loss from the scalp.The cold caps are stored in the donated Biometric freezer.Janette Fitzgerald of the Breast Cancer Foundation stated, “Being diagnosed with cancer, any kind of cancer, is one of the most frightening times in a person's life. After the initial shock and confusion most people begin the research phase. Choosing surgeons, oncologists and treatment choices is an extremely difficult process. For most, the added trauma of losing their hair during chemotherapy is an added burden they are forced to bear on the journey to becoming cancer free. The BCF identified that there was a way that we could help to ease that trauma by helping patients keep their hair.“Cold caps have been used in the UK successfully for many years. We wanted to give patients in Cayman the option to try to retain their hair; it is not an easy option but this method has a very high success rate. BCF funded the purchase of all the equipment; local company Andro handled the shipping and delivery free of charge and BCF also brought over a trainer from the US to instruct the hospital’s staff on how to administer the cold caps in order to get the best results for patients,” she said.“It’s nice to be able to offer patients the cold cap treatment. I am all for anything that will make our  patients feel better about themselves,” said Chemotherapy Nurse Andrew Ward.HSA’s CEO Lizzette Yearwood commented, “For both male and female cancer patients, the experience of losing their hair as a result of chemotherapy can be quite emotionally traumatic. Therefore, the HSA welcomes and greatly appreciates these donations made by the Breast Cancer Foundation in their effort to reduce the chances of this occurring. We look forward to our patients utilising this added therapy and experiencing the benefits it offers.” Photo attached – from Left to right – Lizzy Cronin, Founder and Owner of ColdCaps.com based in Texas USA and visiting trainer; Janette Fitzgerald of BCF; and Tori Croft a Cayman resident who finished her chemotherapy treatment and kept her hair, as did Ms Cronin when she was being treated for breast cancer four years ago.