One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss, affecting approximately 65% of patients undergoing the treatment, according to research by Pharmacy Times.
A new offering at Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care in Ridgewood, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, helps prevent hair loss caused by chemotherapy for patients diagnosed with malignant solid tumors, according to a Jan. 16 announcement.
“Hair loss is one of the most traumatic aspects of receiving chemotherapy, and the ability to potentially prevent hair loss can be incredibly helpful for patients,” Dr. Eleonora Teplinsky, head of breast medical oncology at the medical center, said in a statement. “Overall, it has the potential to make the experience less traumatic.”
How does it work?
The non-invasive process lowers the temperature of a patient’s scalp to between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit through a compact refrigeration system unit with coolant that is circulated through single-patient-use cooling cap.
By cooling the scalp, blood flow to the area is reduced; therefore, less blood containing chemotherapy drugs reaches the hair follicles, according to the cancer center.
The process also causes the hair follicles to become dormant, preventing the cells from rapidly dividing, and therefore being less affected by chemotherapy, further limiting hair loss.
The Paxman cooling system received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use during treatment of patients with solid tumors in June 2018.