How scalp-cooling can improve the mental health of cancer patients by giving them control and privacy

The increasing use of scalp-cooling machines in Australia is being credited with improved mental heath outcomes for cancer patients, allowing many to retain much of their hair despite chemotherapy treatments.

The machines super-cool the scalp and reduce some of the damage to the hair follicle that occurs during chemotherapy.

However, researchers from the University of Sydney said Australia still had a long way to go before use of the ‘cold caps’ reached the same level of the United States and Europe.

Frances Wilson is halfway through her chemotherapy treatment, after successful surgery at Ballarat’s St John of God Hospital following a breast cancer diagnosis, and has become one of the first patients to use the hospital’s scalp-cooling machines.

The machines, which cost about $50,000, restrict blood flow to the hair follicles, in turn reducing their metabolism and the amount of chemotherapy drugs being absorbed.

“My hair is a big deal to me. Obviously vanity is a part of it, but it’s also so I don’t look sick,” Ms Wilson said.

“Even though my hair does shed a bit, it’s worth it.” Read more… 

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