German scientists are testing a special scalp-cooling cap which helps reduce hair loss for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. The Hanover Medical College (MHH) has been testing the silicon-based caps for the past year and has been proved very successful. “We were pretty sceptical to begin with, but we’ve been stunned by the results,” said the deputy director of MHH’s women’s clinic, Tyoung-Won Park-Simon, on Wednesday.
MHH has done the trials on more than 20 cancer patients using the caps with positive results. “Of course, the first question is always ‘Will i get better again?’ But for me the second question was 'can I keep my hair? ", said the 48-year-old from Hanover. “It worked well for me. My hair got thinner but I never needed a hat or a headscarf”, she added.
But the effects vary from patients as it didn't help to keep all the hair as the treatment doesn’t work for all tumor types. According to the German Cancer Information Service (KID), many women call them up inquiring about types of chemotherapy which diminish hair-loss. “Various manufacturers have developed cool-caps for some time,” said Birgit Hiller from KID. “But until now it couldn’t be confirmed that the technology had positive effects for all, or at least most cancer patients.”
The patient wears the silicone cap during the infusion of the anti-cancer drugs. The cap keeps the patient’s hair at a steady temperature between 3-5 Celsius.Local blood vessels become narrower in the cold, making it harder for the medicine to reach this part of the body.There is so far no evidence that the caps are harmful, although some patients have complained about headaches.