Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital is first in the region to offer cancer patients cold cap therapy, a scalp-cooling technique that lessens hair loss during chemotherapy. The therapy will be offered free to oncology patients thanks to the Mercy Health Foundation Lourdes and grant funding it received from the annual Stomp Toward the Cure event.
Cold cap therapy comes to Mercy Health courtesy of its new Paxman Scalp Cooling System at the hospital’s outpatient infusion unit. Lourdes’ Paxman system can accommodate multiple patients simultaneously. Scalp cooling is a simple treatment that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. The therapy incorporates a helmet-like cap, which circulates cold liquid to cool the scalp. The headgear is worn before, during and after each chemotherapy session. The use of scalp cooling has been proven to be effective in preventing chemotherapy-induced hair loss, and can result in women retaining much of their hair.
“One of the known, unfortunate effects of receiving effective chemotherapy can be hair loss,” said Michael Yungmann, CEO, Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital. “We are pleased to be the first in the region to offer this new adjunctive treatment to chemotherapy that has been proven to reduce hair loss. Even better is the fact we can offer our patients cold cap therapy for free thanks to the generous grant from Stomp.”
Each cap is fitted to the specification of the patient, who will own the cap and use it during subsequent therapy sessions. While patients are receiving chemotherapy, the caps are hooked to computers at the infusion center that will maintain the cap’s temperature near freezing. The cold restricts the blood vessels of the scalp, limiting blood flow to hair follicles. “The end result is that less chemotherapy medication ends up in the hair follicle’s cells and thus the patient retains more hair,” said John Montville, executive director of Lourdes’ oncology service line.
For additional information on cold cap therapy at Lourdes, call (270) 331-2973.