• Has anyone tried cold caps during chemo treatments to save your hair?

    Asked by Loafer on Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Has anyone tried cold caps during chemo treatments to save your hair?

    My onc said with my treatment (cytoxan & taxotere) I could keep my hair (or most of it) by using penguin cold cap therapy during treatment. Has this worked for anyone?

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar

      I didn't use a cold cap but I've heard that they work about 40% of the time. Here's a forum where you might be able to get some information: http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/6/topic/735873
      Good luck!!

      about 4 years ago
    • sewfun928's Avatar

      my friend who was going through chemo the same time as me used it and she kept most of her hair, it did thin a little.

      about 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      I know a woman who used them and managed to keep her hair--but she had frequent headaches, I think from the cold.

      I've chosen not to use them because I've read there are some who are concerned that using cold caps may interfere w/your chemo working its stuff on your neck/head/brain--and I want my chemo to clean out all possible cancer cells lurking anywhere in my body. I am more concerned with kicking this XXXXing cancer than having hair, right now. But good luck to you in the path you choose.

      about 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      I went through this thought process as well. There was actually someone in our chemo area who tried this and it did not work. I was so vain that the thought of losing my hair overwhelmed me more than the loss of the breast. This cold cap is expensive and a waste of money. Let the hair go, it will come back better than ever. There is also a thought (don't know how valid) that these cold caps can cause cancer to go to brain, because all fast growing cells that chemo attacks are protected from ice.. who knows what is true, but if there was a great short cut that really worked, every one would be doing it believe me.
      Learn to love yourself as a healthy woman, and you will find your beauty will shine through anyway! Best to you!

      about 4 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar

      I am a triple neg, stage IIA BC survivor. I was diagnosed last September. I was told the same thing you were told. It's aggressive, I'm at a higher risk. Because of this, I was given 2 additional chemo treatments, 8 total. There is not a day that goes by that I don't dwell on the triple neg thing. I was also told that there is no pill or med that I needed to take. I felt like I was just pushed out of an airplane with no parashoot. My oncol said to stay in tune with my body. If something doesn't feel right, let him know. I know this is no advice, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. And I am here for you if you need a shoulder.

      about 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      Thanks all for your thoughts! My Onc actually recommended the cold cap - I had never heard of it before. Said it doesn't work with all chemo treatments, but my cocktail and my hair type are candidates. I have thick wavy hair and a lot of it - I am going to give it a try!

      about 4 years ago
    • Paw's Avatar

      I have never heard of cold caps and I had taxotere

      about 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I finished chemo (CMF) in August. I had nice thick ringlet curls and now I have short, spiky, pink hair. It started coming out in clumps so I shaved my head. It was actually freeing aand less traumatic than watching my hair come out in clumps. I was happy to be alive and my hair was not important to me. And now, I actually love the short hair. If your hair is that important, do whatever will help. Good luck.

      about 4 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      For the reasons others mentioned I opted out of the cold cap. The whole point of chemo once your own tumor has been removed is to eradicate any microscopic cancerous cells lurking elsewhere. No one dies of breast cancer...people die when it spreads to other organs. I didn't want to shelter a bad cell in my head and allow it to take my life.

      about 4 years ago
    • Brownj1's Avatar

      I had looked into the cold cap but my oncologist and the other doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering would not allow it. There is a risk that the microscopic cancer cells would migrate to the brain and would survive the chemo due to the cold cap. I loved my shoulder length brown hair, which I religiously had cut and colored every 6 weeks, and did not want to lose it. However, losing my hair was not nearly as bad as I had thought. I started losing my hair after the second AC chemo treatment, and then had it shaved off since I was tired of cleaning up my hair all over the house. I finished my chemo toward the end of August and it is starting to grow back now. As attached as I was to my hair, I have actually found it freeing not to have to blow dry it every day and worry about how it looks. Being cancer free and making sure that the chemo eradicated every last microscopic cancer cell is much more important.

      about 4 years ago
    • cbutinski's Avatar

      I wish I had the advice when I went through Chemo I was on (taxotere and carbo) no one ever told me about the cold cap therapy, I guess to each is own about their feelings as far as their hair, my hair was long, thick and black and I wanted to keep it so badly, I didn't look at it as being vain I just did not want to be a posterboard for cancer, I wanted to bear my burden silently or as personal as possible, when my hair fell out I cried with each strand, I even refused to shave I thought of it as giving up of the possibility of it growing back, well it's back and I personally don't like the length ( hate short hair) , the way it's coming back, and the color.
      Good luck I wish you luck.

      about 4 years ago
    • Ninibell's Avatar

      They said I would lose my hair around day 14 of beginning treatment, and sure enough just like clockwork it started coming out. My sister in law, (also my hairdresser) shaved my head. I cried for about 20 minutes and I didn't cry again. I had beautiful long blonde hair. I DID NOT want to lose it. But afterwards, it really wasn't that bad. I bought a wig thinking that I would never be seen in public without it. It was uncomfortable and hot and after a few weeks, I just wore scarves. I remember being so embarrassed once my hair did start to come back to take off the scarf. I went to a Poison concert and didn't want people to think I was trying to look like Brett Michaels (hahaha) so I went without it. It was almost an inch long at this point. I was walking though the crowd and a lady stopped me and said "your hair is so cute". I could have kissed her!! She had no idea what I had just gone through. But without knowing she gave me the hugest confidence boost!! I will never forget that. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's okay if you lose your hair! It's not as bad as you think it's going to be, I promise! And this is coming from someone who was VERY attached to her hair. It's been 5 years now and it's back to being long and beautiful again!! Good luck to you :)

      about 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      Thanks Rapunzel! I read all of your attached articles and feel good about my decision to try this treatment. I am getting treatment at Beaumont Hospital which is listed as a hospital with the necessary refrigeration. Interestingly enough, my onc told me they began this therapy because the Head of Surgery's spouse had researched it from England. She was treated over 4 years ago and it saved her hair. They ran a small trial with success! I'll let you know how it goes. I've posted a before pic and I'll add a post chemo pic too.

      about 4 years ago
    • joany's Avatar

      I tried the cold cap 18 years ago but it didn't help I still lost my hair. I mentioned it to my doctor this year when I went through chemo and he said that they didn't see that it did any good. If you do try it be sure to take a Tylenol before because the coldness can give you a headache. Good luck!

      about 4 years ago
    • Gilded's Avatar

      I just finished chemo last month (TCx6) and used cold caps. I still have a full head of hair. It thinned quite a bit but it's still there and no one knows I went through chemo unless I tell them. There are some FDA approved trials going on for the Dignicap, which is basically a higher tech version of the cold cap. My guess is that this product will be approved for use in the next few years. Before I started chemo I talked with my Onc about the caps and she told me to save my money because they don't work. After the second chemo she was shocked to see my hair and has done a complete turn around - she's now suggesting it to her patients. Regarding the concerns about increased possibility of scalp mets, I did quite a bit if research beforehand and the risk of scalp mets is very, very small to begin with. Both my Ons reported that they had never seen a case of scalp mets in their practice. After doing a lot of research online, I felt pretty confident about deciding on the caps. I'm a young woman and this whole experience has been brutal. The idea of losing my hair just kind of sent me over the edge. The cold caps thread at breastcancer.org is a great resource for anyone considering the caps. Just wanted to share my experience.

      almost 3 years ago

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