The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) Chemotherapy Unit has upgraded its cold cap therapy with a scalp cooling system that will improve efficiency of the treatment and provide a more comfortable experience for patients hoping to prevent or reduce the loss of their hair as a result of chemotherapy.
Donated by the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), the scalp cooling system uses scalp hypothermia, a process that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs, by cooling a person’s scalp for a period of time before, during, and after each chemotherapy treatment. The current cold caps used are similar to ice packs as they thaw out during a chemotherapy infusion session and need to be replaced with a new cap about every 25 minutes. With scalp cooling systems, the cap is attached to a small refrigeration machine that circulates coolant, so the cap only has to be fitted once and does not need to be changed during chemotherapy treatment.
“The new scalp cooling system provides a better experience for the chemo patients as the old cold cap therapy can be a more uncomfortable experience by having a cap removed and replaced every 25 minutes,” said Chemotherapy Nurse Manager Karen Stewart. “The scalp cooling system now reduces the level of discomfort, thus improving the overall patient experience.”
“The system also improves efficiency for our nursing staff who can now allocate the time it would take to refit a patient’s cold cap to providing additional care to more patients,” Nurse Stewart added.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System has proven to be an effective way of combatting chemotherapy-induced hair loss and can result in a high level of retention or complete preservation of hair. For patients, this means the opportunity to regain some control, maintain their privacy and encourage a positive attitude towards treatment.
“I was thrilled to hear of such an advancement in possibly reducing hair loss and preserving some sort of normalcy in my appearance,” a chemotherapy patient said. “I am proud that the Cayman Islands has access to this new technology and wholeheartedly recommend it with any approved chemotherapy regimen and as an aid to a better quality life and overall personal well-being.”
“We are pleased to donate this improved scalp cooling system. Breast cancer patients have enough trauma in their lives without also having to lose their hair, so hopefully, this new system will alleviate a burdensome side effect of the chemotherapy,” said BCF Board Member Kim Lund, speaking on behalf of the Foundation.
“The Health Services Authority thanks the Breast Cancer Foundation for their many years of contribution to cancer survivors throughout our islands and recognize the significant impact their support has, assisting our organisation to continue to provide high-quality care to our patients and their families,” said Medical Director Dr. Delroy Jefferson.