FDA Clears This New Tool That Saves Cancer Patients' Hair
By Elise Minton Tabin |
To put it bluntly, cancer sucks. And one of the many unfortunate side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss, both on the scalp and eyebrows and even the eyelashes, too, since the treatment destroys (albeit not permanently) the functionality of the hair growth cycle.
But the worry of losing your hair if you have to go through chemotherapy may soon not exist at all if a new product is able to prevent hair loss. Recently, the FDA granted clearance to the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System, which is said to reduce the activity of hair follicles during chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
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The way it works is fairly simple. The cap, which is made of neoprene, is placed on the patient’s head before, during and after a chemotherapy session, which connects to a specialized unit that reduces blood flow in the scalp and slow down the rate at which the cells divide. In doing this, there’s less damage to the cells and they’re less likely to stop growing and lead to hair loss.
The DigniCap is currently available at 53 different sites in 17 states across the country, giving women more confidence in their appearance during difficult times.
New York hair restoration specialist Carlos K. Wesley, MD, says that, "According to a 2015 meta analysis (a scientific review of a large number of specific studies on this subject) of methods to prevent chemotherapy induced hair loss, scalp cooling was the only one found to result in a statistically-significant reduction of hair loss. But, it's very important for people to realize that scalp cooling therapy is not for every type of cancer that chemotherapy can treat. Some studies have shown that only patients with solid tumors are likely to benefit, not patients with circulating cancer cells such as leukemia or lymphoma."