How a cold cap can save hair during chemo

AURORA - Every breast cancer diagnosis carries with it a long list of physical and emotional challenges and changes.

Dr. Virginia Borges is the director of "The Young Women's Translational Program" at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. It is considered one of the lead programs in the United States for young women' with breast cancer.

The majority of patients who come to Dr. Borges will need chemotherapy, which means they will lose their hair. Hair usually regrows after the treatment ends, but in some cases, it does not grow back.

Hair loss is devastating in many ways. A relatively new technique is being used to help prevent hair loss: cold cap therapy.

"There aren't too many parts of the female body that are left untouched in breast cancer treatment, so if I can at least preserve some sense of normalcy from the neck up, it's a really worthwhile endeavor," Dr. Borges said.

The caps look like an old fashioned bathing-suit cap. The caps are stored in dry ice. They are used during every chemotherapy treatment, before the infusion and after.

Although widely used in Europe, the cold cap does not have FDA approval yet. Unfortunately, it is not covered by insurance. The cost can reach close to $2,000. However, a high quality wig can also be quite pricey.

"It adds a level of control and it adds a level of personal decision making that hair loss takes away from the cancer process," Dr. Borges said.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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