New device helps chemo patients keep hair - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

New device helps chemo patients keep hair

A Hardin Memorial Hospital spokesperson said the hospital is the first in Kentucky to offer the Scalp Cooling System treatment. (Source: Hardin Memorial Hospital) A Hardin Memorial Hospital spokesperson said the hospital is the first in Kentucky to offer the Scalp Cooling System treatment. (Source: Hardin Memorial Hospital)
Jamie Owen (Source: WAVE 3 News) Jamie Owen (Source: WAVE 3 News)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - A new device at Hardin Memorial Hospital is helping cancer patients prevent hair loss during chemotherapy treatment.
 
A Hardin Memorial Hospital spokesperson said the hospital is the first in Kentucky to offer the Paxman Scalp Cooling System treatment. In 2015, a similar cap was cleared for use by breast cancer patients. The Dignicap has been offered by Norton Cancer Center for more than one year. 

The system uses what is called a cold cap to reduce the scalp temperature immediately before, during and after a chemotherapy treatment. The cooling reduces the blood flow to hair follicles which helps to prevent or minimize the hair loss.

“Patients often ask me if they are going to lose their hair,” Dr. Adam Lye, the Director of Oncology at Hardin Memorial Hospital, said. “With the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, we can try to alleviate that stressor and allow the patients to focus on their treatment.”

For breast cancer patient Jamie Owen, the decision to use the device came down to making life as normal as possible.

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"I do have two young children at home and I was worried that like if my hair fell completely out and I was bald, they'd be like ‘what is wrong with Mommy,’" Owen said.

The cap is used before during and after Owen's chemo treatments 

"I just sit there doing my chemotherapy with a cap on and it circulates over my head so their hair follicles don’t come out.
 
It's about 60 degrees inside the cap. 
 
"By reducing the temperature of the scalp, we constrict the blood vessels and there's less chemotherapy delivered the scalp itself, so that protects the hair and the scalp and the hair follicles to decrease the hair loss during chemo," Lye said. 

Owens has completed four treatments and said she still has the majority of her hair.

With two treatments left she doesn't anticipate any hair loss. Because of the device, Owen said she's been fighting cancer without the constant physical reminder she's sick.

"I do want other woman who have to go through this to know that there is hope that it will be OK, new technology is available and it's there we should use it and save our hair and just continue to live life as normal,” she said.

The cooling scalp treatment costs $2,500 a treatment and is covered by some insurance companies.

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