ChemoColdCaps™ was founded by Lizzy Cronin and her husband Bill in 2012. As a breast cancer survivor, Lizzy used a scalp cooling cap and after 6 rounds of treatment, she had retained about 80 percent of her hair. Cold cap therapy is a non-invasive, drug free technique of scalp cooling that can be successful in minimizing hair loss or alopecia.
Why choose Chemo Cold Caps? They are the first all inclusive scalp cooling company in the U.S. which is FDA Registered. “As a breast cancer survivor and spending the past 5 years working Chemo Cold Caps, I am able to provide insight to doctors, nurses, treatment center admin, etc., on the all encompassing aspects and benefits of scalp cooling as a treatment option”.
Can you tell us about your cancer diagnosis, treatment and if you had any symptoms?
In September of 2011 I found a lump on the outside of my left breast. I had no other symptoms and had a mammogram 1 year prior. After a visit to my internist, a sonogram and needle biopsy I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. I was referred to a breast surgeon who presented me my options. I decided to have a uni-lateral mastectomy which took place in November of 2011. My surgeon performed a sentinel node biopsy and determined that it had traveled into one node and that I was HER-2 positive. Additional pathology would determine that I was also ER/PR+. (Estrogen and progesterone) If you have ever heard of triple negative breast cancer I was the opposite. Triple positive!
HER-2 breast cancer is aggressive and always requires chemotherapy. After surgery, I started 6 rounds of chemo. The drugs I received were Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin. Using scalp cooling gel caps I finished my 6 rounds with 80% of my hair. It was not noticeable and a lot of people never even knew that I had breast cancer.
What is the technology behind scalp cooling and is it hard to use?
The technology behind scalp cooling is vasoconstriction. By chilling the head, the blood vessels that supply blood flow to the hair follicle become smaller due to the cold and minimize the chemo drugs from reaching the follicle and causing hair loss. The process of using gel cold caps from companies such as Chemo Cold Caps and Penguin Cold Caps while effective are difficult to use. The caps are rented from these companies and using them requires dry ice. They are worn before, during and for several hours after the chemo infusion is over. The caps go on the head at extremely cold temperatures, -32c and are changed every 25 minutes. Using gel cold caps requires having someone to help you are every treatment. The caps are used at the patient’s discretion and have no affiliation in most cases with the treatment centers.
What is DigniCap® and how does this option differ from other scalp cooling systems?
The DigniCap is a scalp cooling machine manufactured by a Swedish company called Dignitana. The DigniCap machine was given FDA clearance in December of 2015 for use in breast cancer related chemotherapy. On July 3rd, this medical device was cleared by the FDA for breast, prostate, ovarian, and other solid tumor cancers.
This machine produces the same environment as the gel caps with 2 major differences. The machine is housed in the treatment center and administered by the staff and once the cap is on your head it does not come off until you are done. The machine is like an air conditioning unit and it circulates cold liquid through a silicone inner cap.
DigniCap machines can be found in over 80 cancer centers nationwide. For a full list of sites that offer this amazing service visit DigniCap.com. DigniCap machines have been being used in many countries around the world since 2007.
What message do you want to share about scalp cooling to others facing chemotherapy and alopecia?
The message I want to share is that someone diagnosed with breast cancer now has a choice to try to keep their hair. Before scalp cooling it was difficult to keep one’s diagnosis private because most chemo regimens for breast cancer cause hair loss. Being able to look like yourself during treatment makes the whole process a little easier to handle. It also allows patients an element of control. While you can’t control most of the things that are necessary to become cancer free, choosing to try to keep your hair is one thing that you can control. Whether you decide to use a cold cap solution like ChemoColdCaps or a cold cap machine like DigniCap, it will lower your risk for alopecia.
Click here to learn more about ChemoColdCaps™.
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