A few months ago I stumbled upon a treatment for cancer patients that can help prevent them from losing their hair during chemotherapy. It is called Cold Cap Therapy. Surprisingly not many people, at least in the US are aware of it, or even told about it when they are diagnosed with cancer. This treatment has been used in Europe for over 15 years and has proven to be 95% successful!
So what is cold cap therapy and why does it work?
It is a special cap that is put on the patients head during each chemotherapy treatment. This special cap must be frozen well below Zero degrees and usually about 13-17 are needed during each treatment. The reason that this treatment works is because it slows down the metabolic rate of each hair follical, when this happens the hair bulb absorbs less of the chemo in the blood than it would if no cold caps were used. The lower levels of absorption are usually tolerable and most of the patients hair will stay!
Cold cap therapy is still in clinical trials in the U.S which is why this treatment isn’t being used yet. Additionaly, the cost of the special freezers needed for this is very expensive and most hospitals unfortunatly cannot afford the costs. There is a small light at the end of tunnel though! It is possible to rent the cold caps from the manufacturer, and the cost is actually comparable to the cost of a well made wig. Some insurances are covering some if not all of it, but not enough.
There is an amazing group called The Rapunzel Project (www.rapunzelproject.org) that is trying to raise awareness as well as money to get these cold caps and freezers into more and more hospitals. If I were to pick a cause related to hair for me to stand behind it would be this one. Not only does it help patients keep their own hair during a very trying time, but it also does it without added medicines, or chemicals! It is as simple as putting a hat on and does not take anymore time than doing chemo without it. If you are interested in learning more or giving a contribution to help fund the Rapunzel Project please visit their website! It is full of great information and stories from patients that have used this and been successful with it.