It's bad enough having to deal with cancer, but then to lose all your hair from chemotherapy, makes the challenge that much tougher. And if you're a woman, watching your beautiful hair fall out is unimaginable.
We lost our father to cancer a number of years ago, and a cousin, almost 2 years ago. And we saw both of them bravely battle the disease with bald heads.
But what encouraged us this morning on Good Morning America (GMA), was the cold cap system. Yes, it's been around for a number of years now, but not every hospital has cold caps available for chemo patients, not every doctor believes in the cold cap idea to save hair, and most people aren't even aware that such an option exists.
The great news, is that we are seeing more and more chemo patients having excellent results by wearing the cold cap, especially women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Throughout the grueling chemo sessions, a number of women have reported keeping all their hair, which in turn, gives one back a greater self-esteem.
Some women are so frightened to lose their hair when they receive a cancer diagnosis, that they refuse chemotherapy.
When a person undergoes chemo, they are being treated with drugs and chemicals which attack healthy hair follicles, The cold cap really does cool the scalp and thus restricts blood circulation there. That in turn, restricts blood flow to the hair follicles, saving one's locks.
We have learned that generally, the cap is put on 15 minutes before chemotherapy to start restricting blood flow. And it's kept on during and up to 1-2 hours after chemo. Although, the length of time wearing the cap also varies from article to article we researched.
Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate wearing the cold cap because it can feel very cold. This discomfort will vary from patient to patient. By the way, wearing the cold cap has no influence on the outcome of one's chemo treatment.
GMA cohost, Robin Roberts, a breast cancer surviver who lost her hair during chemo treatments in 2007, says she was unaware of the cold cap system at the time, and also admitted that she's not sure she would have worn one during her treatment.
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