News from the USA reaches us, and it is good news for anybody heading into chemotherapy. The Paxman Scalp Cooler has been approved. We take a closer look.
The Paxman Story
The catalyst for creating the company was a tragic one. Mother of four Sue Paxman underwent a course of chemotherapy and suffered the associated hair loss. Her son Richard, pictured above, is the CEO and he explains “Hair loss is consistently ranked in the most 5 distressing cancer chemotherapy side-effects”. According to the article in News-Medical.net, and it’s a statistic we have covered ourselves, one in twelve women actually decline chemotherapy because they cannot come to terms with the prospect of losing their hair.
Today, the company has scalp cooling systems in 2,500 hospitals and clinics around the world and the efficacy of their equipment is accepted as fact. Of course that is not the same thing as having been definitively studied and proven. So the news that the US FDA, the ultimate arbiter of all that is safe in food and medicine in the USA, selected the Paxman cooling system for just such a study it is fair to say the family business must have been delighted.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
The great news is that their system came through the study with flying colors. In fact, over 50% of the 186 women from New York , New Jersey, Texas and Ohio, involved in the study preserved hair by using it.
The system works by fitting a snug cap the scalp before, during and a little while after treatment. The cap cools the scalp thus, the theory goes, constricting blood supply to the follicles while the potent chemotherapy drugs do their work. The issue for hair follicles with chemotherapy drugs is that they work by targeting fast growing cells, and cells do not come much faster growing that hair. As long as the follicles are undamaged the patient can expect a complete return to a head of hair, but the trauma of hair loss during an emotional time cannot be overstated.
Richard Paxman added “The USA is the largest healthcare market in the world with over 1.6 million diagnoses of cancer each year. We have spent six years conducting a comprehensive multi-center randomized clinical trial to ensure our data is robust as possible. This has been a significant investment for us, but we are incredibly excited to be able to offer scalp cooling to US patients giving them a choice to maintain some control during treatment as we see in the UK and other parts of the world”.
HIS Hair Clinic
We recently covered the story of British TV presenter Victoria Derbyshire who used scalp cooling as part of her procedure. Unfortunately she was in that sub 50% of women who lose their hair anyway… the good news is that we also covered the story where she removed her wig to reveal her hair growing back again. But we read with delight that this important treatment will now be available to the millions of chemotherapy patients in the USA.
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