10TV: Cold Cap Therapy Can Help Cancer Patients Save Hair in Chemotherapy
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer there are many questions. What will my course of treatment be like? Am I going to be ok? Will I lose my hair?
If chemotherapy is a course of treatment, many types can cause hair loss as a side effect. But now there is an option for some patients that may preserve their hair during treatment.
It's called cold cap therapy. According to Penguin Cold Caps, the company OhioHealth partners with, cold capping is “the process of cooling the scalp to minimize chemical induced hair loss.” The therapy takes place before, during and after infusion and it freezes hair follicles so the chemotherapy agent doesn't get into the hair follicles. Once chemotherapy starts, the cap must be changed every 25 minutes during the infusion and then between three and seven hours after infusion, depending on the medication.
“During the first few minutes of the first few caps it feels like an ice cream headache,” said Bethany Golden the president of Over My Head Boutique at OhioHealth Bing Cancer Center, in an interview with 10TV anchor and medical reporter Tracy Townsend. Bethany leads the cold capping program at OhioHealth. She told 10TV that cold cap patients who have the most promising results have to be surrounded by a good support system of caregivers, because they need a caregiver to manage the actual capping.
One of those patients is Kim Mack. Kim is a two-time breast cancer survivor who lost her hair the first time. When she was diagnosed a second time, she knew keeping her hair was a priority.
“It truly was an empowering experience not to let my breast cancer take my hair this time around,” said Kim. “To this redhead, being bald was just not my cup of tea!”
Kim's husband, Steve, and daughter, Lauren, managed the cold capping process for Kim.
“I was worried sick that she was going to end up with a bald spot in the back of her head and it was going to be my fault,” Steve told 10TV. “But it all stayed in there,” he said with a smile.
Cold capping is often not covered by insurance. However, thanks to the OhioHealth Foundation and generous donors who have contributed over $250,000, more than 100 patients have been able to have cold cap therapy. If you're interested in donating to support this program to directly fund this service for our patients, please click here.
To see Kim's story with 10TV, click on the station's logo below.