Scalp Cooling during Chemo?

KazmarKazmar Member Posts: 65
I am starting Chemo on Friday and l was asked if l wanted to try Scalp cooling, l had never heard of it.
I would love to hear others experiences. How uncomfortable it is? Does it really help with hair loss?
How short should your hair be to be able to wear the cap?
I have an information session on Tuesday at the hospital, just thought that l would see if others here had tried this method.


  • viking1viking1 Perth, Western Australia, NORMember Posts: 278
    I've just had my first chemo and am 14 days into things.  Today was the day I woke up and had a lot of hair on my shoulders (I cut it short in a bob before chemo as it was quite long.) Funnily enough, with my first week of chemo I had quite a few horrible side effects from the steroid tablets (no nausea or vomiting) so when I washed my hair tonight and heaps fell out I wasn't upset, just irritated that it's everywhere! I thought I would be distressed. But seriously, I feel it's the least of my worries as I have a long road ahead with chemo, radiation and Herceptin injections. I know this is very personal for everyone. My chemo nurse told me the scalp cooling can be a bit sore and sometimes your hair is fine for a few months and then falls out.  Or it can save some hair but looks patchy.  I'm going to get mine shaved tomorrow at a nice quiet salon and have a head massage at the same time ... going out in style at Maurice Meade
  • Ann-MarieAnn-Marie Member Posts: 1,158
    Hi @kazmar here is a post from one of our members which is a good read about scalp cooling. In the search bar if you type "scalp cooling" a number of older post will appear that you can take a read of.

  • Kat09Kat09 Melbourne Member Posts: 139
    Hi @Kazmar , I tried the Cold caps with my initial dose of AC chemo. it was a 50/50 chance that it would help me keep my hair on this type of Chemo and it didn't work for me. There are varying degrees of success with using them though and many of the women who were doing Taxol chemo when I did had more success with the cold caps. Like anything through the treatment path we are on that might help to make us feel better it's definitely worth giving them a try. One thing to keep in mind if you do decide to do them it adds at least an hour and a half to your treatment time, you can't colour , style or wash your hair as regularly as you usually do and it's best to only wash it in tepid water. Many of the women had varying degrees of thinning of which I wasn't overly keen on the look of ( for me ) but there were some who pretty much kept all their hair. If you do decide to give them a go buy a good gentle conditioner as you will need to wet your hair and comb that through before each cold cap treatment.
    Good luck
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 2,992

    @kazmar I've put the link to the latest thread that discussed cold caps for you to have a look. My Oncologist said if I did purely Taxol give it a go, but isn't successful on FEC or AC which is the red devil Chemo. I have friends that tried it and werent happy with the extra time it took on top of and the result wasnt worth it. Very individual. Melinda xo
  • KazmarKazmar Member Posts: 65
    Thanks  @melclarity, @Kat09 @viking1 and Ann-Marie_BCNA.
    Thanks for the advice.
    Gives me plenty to think about.
  • bron66bron66 Member Posts: 2
    Hi @Kazmar
    I have recently completed chemo using the cool caps and am still undecided as to whether I would call it a huge success . Firstly it is extremely painful for the first 10 mins or so but does settle down , I took panadiene prior to help reduce the discomfort . It also does prolong the time for treatment by a couple of hours. My hair thinned considerably but I do still have hair . My hair was shoulder length and thick now it looks straggly and so thin . I had a huge bald patch on my crown , so I couldn't go out or be seen without a hat and still need a hat as although it's growing I have a huge round patch of hair about 1-2 cm . 
    So would I recommend cool caps . Yes  I would . Definitely worth giving it a go . Although I'm tired of going out with my beanie on, because I've got hair around my face,  nobody would know that I've just undergone chemo . Worth trying. Good luck . Bron 

  • MoosieMoosie Taree Nsw Member Posts: 28
    I used the cooling cap for my first AC but found it too painful and it made the process much longer so I didn't use it again. I am now bald but that ok really. The wig library are great and fitted me with a great looking wig. It really is. A personal choice though. Good luck. 
  • LucyELucyE Member Posts: 295
    edited August 2017
    Hi @Kazmar I haven't been on here for a while, but I love the topic of hair. :) I used scalp cooling almost 2 1/2 years ago and it helped me to keep my hair for a while. The new system was fairly new to the hospital then.
    I had 6 months of ACT. I think if I had my chance again I wouldn't do it, instead I would listen to music and not have the discomfort and pain of the cold caps. It added extra time to my treatment. It's also quite isolating having the caps on as you can't hear very well. Having said that my hair grew back very quickly starting at the 3 month mark and is as thick as it always was. Best of luck with everything. 
  • KazmarKazmar Member Posts: 65
    Hi @Moosie , @LucyE , @bron66 , Thanks for all of your advice, l decided not to go with the scalp cooling, l just decided that l didn't need the extra stress or pain.
  • MoosieMoosie Taree Nsw Member Posts: 28
    That was my choice too. I thought losing my hair might have worried me more but now that it's all gone It really doesn't worry me. I was given a great wig by the wig library and I have had fun buying beanies, caps and scarves to wear. Good luck with your treatment. I have two more docetaxal and then chemo for now is done! Surgery is next. 
  • KazmarKazmar Member Posts: 65
    Hi, @Moosie,
    Yes, it seemed like to much added stress and pain.
    Good luck with your treatment and Surgery.

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