Beacon Transcript – A new study showed that the use of a scalp cooler device during chemotherapy may help prevent severe hair loss for cancer patients.
The study was carried out by a team from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Research results were presented during the SABCS or the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Julia Nangia, an M.D., study author, and part of the Baylor College went to offer details.
According to her, the scalp cooler device was proven to be highly effective in preventing hair loss in breast cancer chemotherapy cases.
Nangia also went to state that further research is needed so as to determine the device’s effectiveness on other cancer tumor types.
Harold Burstein, M.D., Ph.D., of the Boston Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, who was not involved in the study commented on the technology.
Burstein pointed out that scalp-cooling devices are not new. However, earlier technologies of the type were proven to have little or no effect. These were mostly based on wrapping the head with water-cooler fabrics or other materials.
However, newer devices were shown to be more effective. One such device was the scalp cooler tested by the team of researchers.
The study has a series of patients wear the electronic scalp cooler cap. Another series, assigned to control therapy, wore no such devices.
Whilst the control patients suffered a severe or complete hair loss, the device users registered better results. Half amongst them registered only half or no hair loss.
According to a subgroup analysis, taxane-based chemotherapy patients were the most advantaged by the device. Taxane-based chemotherapy is known to cause a less severe hair loss.
Still, even anthracycline-based, or more toxic chemotherapy patients experienced less loss. A fifth of such patients benefitted from minor or no hair loss.
Nangia, the aforementioned researcher, stated that only a few of the patients reported scalp cooler adverse reactions. The most common such reaction was a headache.
Also according to Nangia, the producers of this respective scalp cooler are currently seeking the FDA’s product approval.
Dr. Burstein also went to state his hope in regards to the effects of such devices. Although he admits that the effects are not universal, he considers that their use should be more widespread.
He also pointed out his hopes that the technology will be approved and that it will become more widespread.
Chemotherapy has been proven to be one of the most effective cancer treatments therapies. However, it is also very well known for its adverse reaction risks.
One such risk is alopecia or hair loss. This has been registered to occur in most cases of traditional chemo treatments.
There are a number of chemotherapies that have shown less hair loss effects. However, a completely alopecia-free treatment does not exist.
Hair loss has been noticed to be quite a big cause of distress. As the therapy is almost notorious for such side effects, some patients are actually avoiding using it.
Burstein went to point out that alopecia can be considered one of the last or most visible traces of cancer. As such, it can have quite a distressing effect, especially on women.
Several scalp cooling devices are currently being tested. Last year, the FDA cleared the use of the first such device, the DigniCap.
The device targeted by the current study is part of the Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System randomized trial.
Nangia, the study lead, pointed out the need for more studies that would determine the effects of alopecia. They should seek to determine the impact it has on quality-of-life-endpoints.
Nangia also pointed out the need for specific such factors that would assess the effect of hair loss in cancer patients.
Image Source: Flickr