Hair loss during chemotherapy is a cruel twist to what is already an ordeal. Low Level Light Therapy could offer some respite according to research.
Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss – A Fight Worth Winning
We recently covered the news that scalp cooling had been FDA approved in the USA and would now be available to American chemotherapy patients. That device sees patients scalp cooled to restrict blood-flow to the region while the powerful chemotherapy drugs do their work… which is essentially to kill any fast dividing cells they can find. Unfortunately for patients this will include hair follicles. Scalp cooling plugged a gap in the treatment of hair loss experienced during chemotherapy, inasmuch as there was nothing available before it came on the market. It is easy to underestimate the depth of feeling that the threat of hair loss provokes, a significant percentage of American women decline a course of chemotherapy citing hair loss as the reason, so the gap that scalp cooling has filled is a vital one.
The good news for these patients is that the vast majority the hair will return, but while chemotherapy drugs view hair follicles as fast growing the experience of people waiting for their hair to return is anything but fast. Progress can be glacial. It leaves the patient, for several months at least, without a head of hair. Anything that can be done to improve that speed of return is to be welcomed, particularly for women who unlike men are not able to take FDA approved oral hair loss drugs. By reducing the damage of the drugs using scalp cooling and combining that treatment with post chemotherapy procedures aimed at speeding up that return to a full head of hair it may be possible to reduce the number of women declining life-saving cancer treatment.
Low Level Light Therapy
This treatment has been around for years having originally been FDA approved for use in the fight against male and female pattern baldness. The small scale study was set up after the manufacturer wondered whether the same treatment might help other forms of alopecia. Raymond Lanzafame, MD., CMS director for the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and a specialist in how lasers are used in medicine, explained “We hypothesized that a similar treatment strategy might be capable of stimulating hair growth in chemotherapy patients. The early results were more dramatic than we had expected”.
It is important to highlight that this was a very small study, based on just 11 female patients. Just the same, the results were impressive and warrant a larger study to be conducted, we hope.
HIS Hair Clinic
We will look out for an update on this exciting news, even the prospect of being able to actively do something about your hair loss would be an enormous boon to the huge number of women who go through it every year.
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