lab-385348_960_720Scalp cooling initially brought hope to cancer patients who were worried about losing their hair during chemotherapy. Innovative cooling caps were trialled recently which showed to be effective in preventing hair loss during chemotherapy treatment.

However, this hope was quashed when scalp cooling came under fire, being labelled as ‘unsafe’ by experts. Now, long-term research data brings new hope, suggesting scalp cooling is in fact a safe option.

Scalp cooling isn’t new

While it’s only been recently that scalp cooling has made it into the news, it’s actually been used since the 1970s. The reason it’s gained such a significant reputation lately is because it was only in December 2015 that it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Nurses and doctors have been reluctant to use it due to a worry over its safety; it’s been believed for over 40 years that scalp cooling can cause scalp metastases.

Over 75% of women due to undergo chemotherapy fear the common hair loss side effect. This fear even causes around 10% to consider refusing chemotherapy altogether. For this reason, scalp cooling should be embraced by medical staff more than it currently is.

Scalp metastases is rare according to studies

In order to put into perspective the safety of scalp cooling treatment, long-term research data has been analysed and presented. In particular, two Dutch studies were shown to suggest that scalp metastases caused by scalp cooling was very rare.

When you compare the risk shown in long-term research data, to the success rate of the treatment, there is no argument that it should be offered on a much wider scale. Success rates vary from 10% through to 100% in studies carried out.

Overall scalp cooling has developed an unfair risky reputation, but actual data does suggest it is safe and effective.

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By Ian Watson

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