Health and Wellness
Cryotherapy and Alopecia
Tom Polakow, RN, BSN
12 July 2016
Alopecia (Hair Loss) is widely known as a hallmark side effect from chemotherapy in association with cancer treatment. For the longest time, men and women alike, had to accept that it was an unavoidable aspect of treatment to save their lives…until now.
Just recently, the FDA approved a new cooling cap by the name of Dignitana to help prevent hair loss during chemotherapy treatment. The mechanism from which the cap works, is the use of cold liquid (37 degree’s Fahrenheit) that covers the scalp prior, during and after chemo treatments. The science behind it is that the cold temperatures help chill the hair follicles, which in turn causes the cells to divide less frequently, causing them to become less attractive to chemotherapeutic agents which target the rapidly dividing cells (such as tumors).
Several studies back the use of cold temperatures (cryotherapy) to help to reduce the potential for hair loss during treatment. As an RN myself, with family and friends who have had to go through the trauma of hair loss during treatment, this has peaked my interest and my wife’s and we will be developing a program to help both men and women give their hair a chance at surviving the unfortunate toxic side effects of chemotherapy. This effort will be far more affordable than the cold-cap method available today which can cost upwards of $1500-3000 or more.
Our localized cryotherapy device, which can produce temperatures far colder than the cold caps (-238 degree’s Fahrenheit), will be used as a trial treatment to help prevent the hair loss. We will put together a package (please stay tuned for the details) where the client will come in prior to their chemo treatment and directly after their chemo treatment and log the results.
As the first company to offer anything like this, please understand that there are no guarantee’s for results. However, it is our hope that we will be able to provide a more affordable and less cumbersome solution in helping to prevent alopecia from chemotherapy.
Update 1/27/16: Here are some important research articles on the topic
Adriamycin Alopecia Prevented by Cold Air Scalp Cooling.
Scalp cooling by cold air for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
Presentation, impact and prevention of chemotherapy-induced hair loss: scalp cooling potentials and limitations
Simulation of scalp cooling by external devices for prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia
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