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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET


Cancer is a venom for the human race. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for cancer. But every rose comes with its thorns; chemotherapy comes with a hoard of side effects. One of the prominent adverse effects is the hair loss. It is the cause of lowering of self-esteem for many cancer patients, especially females. What if we get a remedy for this burdensome problem? Wouldn't the world be a better place for the cancer patients? This very empathy for the suffering patients led to the invention of scalp cooling technique to reduce the hair loss.

The basic principle of this method is narrowing of blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp thereby reducing the amount of chemotherapy medicines reaching the hair follicles. The cold also decreases the activity of the hair follicles, which slows down the mitosis and makes the follicles less vulnerable to cancer drugs. Scalp cooling is done by cold caps and scalp cooling systems. The former consists of ice packs. They are kept in a special freezer before they are worn. They thaw out during the session hence have to be replaced after every 30 minutes. Some renowned brands for cold caps are Chemo cold caps and Elasto gel. In the latter, the cap is attached to a small refrigeration machine that circulates coolants, so the cap has to be fitted only once and doesn't need to be changed during the chemotherapy session. Some examples for scalp cooling systems are Paxman systems and Dignicap systems.

A procedure of scalp cooling device trials is an essential step in the usage of this technology. Step 1 is the questionnaire rounds of the volunteered patients. Not all types of cancer patients can utilize the procedure of scalp cooling. Tumor characteristics and severity of hair loss is taken into account. Only the eligible ones are selected.

Some precautions should be taken by patients taking this procedure like no colouring of hair, no blow drying, shampoo only third day with cool water and gentle combing of hair. There are some patient reviews. One patient reported that in her first use of the procedure, it was quite uncomfortable but eventually it was no problem and her hair fall reduced a lot. Another patient said that she experienced a very bad headache due to the cold emanating from the cap. Overall the reviews gave a statistics of 50 - 65% of success rates of scalp cooling systems.

Scalp cooling systems have proved to be a boon to many cancer patients and a major support system in maintaining their social image and confidence

Purvi Pokharna


Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy