A Cool Cap for Chemotherapy


Scalp cooling technology helps to reduce chemotherapy hair loss

For many cancer patients, hair loss during chemotherapy is one of the hardest parts of their treatment plan. While it can be an inevitable treatment side effect, it is often an emotional hurdle for patients to overcome.

At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, we want to help. Our cancer patients will soon have the opportunity to incorporate the DigniCap® Scalp Cooling System into their cancer treatment plan. The DigniCap® is the first FDA-approved scalp cooling technology to help prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.

How do cooling caps work?

Research has shown that many chemotherapy patients lose their hair because the treatment goes all the way to their hair cells. Chemotherapy can affect all of the cells in the body, even the healthy ones like hair cells.

With the DigniCap, the patient wears a snug-fitting silicone cooling cap that is connected to a cooling and control unit. The coolant circulates in the channels of the cap while a patient is receiving their chemotherapy treatment.

The approach is proven to help with chemotherapy-induced hair loss. The cooling cap technology reduces blood flow to the scalp, lowering the scalp temperature and also constricting scalp blood vessels so that less chemotherapy will reach the hair cells. With reduced exposure to a full chemotherapy dose, the cooling caps helps give hair cells the chance to remain healthy and survive the treatment.

While the DigniCaps aren’t a guarantee that patients will keep all of their hair, it greatly improves the chances that they will retain some of it during the course of their treatment. DigniCaps were originally approved for breast cancer patients and recently began cooling cap clinical trials on patients undergoing treatment for solid tumor cancers.

New technology close to home

St. Elizabeth Healthcare is dedicated to providing our patients with comprehensive, cutting-edge cancer care in the Tri-state area.

“By offering cooling caps to our patients, we will be giving them an opportunity to receive this new technology close to home,” says Sharri Butcher, Nurse Manager of the St. Elizabeth Cancer Care Program. “Helping to minimize hair loss helps patients to feel more like themselves during the course of their chemotherapy treatment.”

The St. Elizabeth Cancer Care team will work directly with DigniCap to set up the service for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. The DigniCap is fitted at the beginning of the patient’s treatment and stays on for the duration of the infusion. It is used for each subsequent cycle of chemotherapy.

Are cooling caps a good fit for you?

If you are interested in learning more about this technology, Sharri recommends discussing it with your oncologist first to ensure that the cooling caps would be a good fit with your diagnosis and treatment plan. For more information, please contact the Cancer Care Center at (859) 572-3298.