For women with cancer, hair loss can be devastating. However, there is a clinical trial a device that can save their hair, Called “Dignicap”. It’s used to cool the scalp during chemotherapy.
According to investigators, the scalp cooling reduces blood flow to this and follicles, to build the capillaries. Less blood means less damage to the follicles, and less hair loss. Before chemotherapy, an investigator placed a cap refrigerator directly on the patient’s head. This cap contains tubes through which coolant is pumped. Above, there is another cap to keep cool. Both are connected to an external refrigerator unit, and reach the temperature of 5 degrees Celsius. The patient must wear the cap during chemotherapy and an hour later.
Although the device does not always work, Dr. Hope Rugo, who leads Dignicap testing, says there are cases of women who have kept their hair.
The Dignicap is widely used in Europe but not in the United States for fear that cooling allows cancer cells to hide in the scalp. Rugo indicates that this is highly unlikely.