Having lost my hair during chemotherapy seven years ago, this new experimental treatment caught my interest. This article, Chill Out During Chemo And Maybe Keep Your Hair, recently ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Pat found it on CancerCompass.com. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Carrie Greene’s cancer doctor called her on a Saturday morning a few months ago and said he wanted to change her chemotherapy treatment. What do you think about losing your hair, he asked.
Greene, 41, who has recurring breast cancer, had already been through that. Twice. One of the worst — or funniest — moments came when her 5-year-old daughter yanked off her wig in front of all the kids at day care.
“I decided I wanted to keep it,” she said of her short, dishwater blond hair.
And so far she has. Each week when Greene goes in for chemotherapy at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, she dons a gel-filled cap, replaced every 30 minutes, that freezes her scalp. In theory, the caps, which are frozen in a special freezer at 22 degrees below zero, prevent the chemo drugs from killing the cells in her hair follicles.
Now two Twin Cities women, both cancer patients, are raising money so that more women can use the therapy. They call their organization the Rapunzel Project…
Clinical trials have started, looking at this procedure. Here’s more:
Using the caps requires two helpers, usually her husband and a friend. While the drugs drip into her body through a plastic tube, every 30 minutes they resupply her with the bright blue caps from the freezer across the floor. Wearing gloves, they unwrap the cap, and then quickly wrap it around her head like a turban.
The treatment gives her an “ice cream” headache, she said Friday as she wrapped herself in heated blankets, and they’re heavy. But they’re working. Before, she said, her hair started falling out about 14 days into chemo treatment. This time she’s two months into it.
Losing my hair was one of the most difficult parts of ovarian cancer. Sure, the chemotherapy was awful. But I just couldn’t deal with losing the long, naturally brown hair I had since I was a child.
This system sounds like a lot of work and expense. But it would be great to have an option like this approved for general use.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pattie