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'Cold Cap Therapy' can help cancer patients save hair in chemotherapy

It's a non-invasive technique of scalp cooling with the goal of minimizing hair loss.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No one wants to hear the words, “You have cancer.” 

A diagnosis can come with fear, anger, sadness and lots of questions. If chemotherapy is prescribed, the question of hair loss is common.

Central Ohioans have an answer in an option that puts the freeze on hair loss with “cold cap therapy." It's a non-invasive technique of scalp cooling with the goal of minimizing hair loss.

It's a therapy during infusions that freezes hair follicles, so the chemotherapy agent doesn't get into the hair follicles.

“During the first few minutes of the first few caps it feels like an ice cream headache,” said Bethany Golden the President of Over My Head Boutique at OhioHealth Bing Cancer Center. 

There is a good reason for the comparison: the scalp must get cold, specifically -30 degrees Celsius or - degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold cap therapy patients who have the most promising results have to be initiative-taking and surrounded by a good support system of caregivers because they have to actually manage the actual capping.  

Golden told us that once the chemotherapy starts, the process requires changing the cap every 25 minutes during the entire chemo session, and then, depending on the actual regimen of drugs, it is between three and seven hours.

Traditional insurance coverage often does not cover cold capping therapy. At the Bing Cancer Center,  the OhioHealth Foundation and generous donors who have contributed over $250,000 have allowed more than 100 patients to undergo the innovative integrative care option.

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