New technology addresses hair loss due to chemotherapy, cheers women up

The prospects of losing hair is one of the major factors that deter many women from avoiding cancer treatment involving chemotherapy.

Published: 04th February 2022 06:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2022 01:11 PM   |  A+A-

Paxman Scalp Cooling machine

Paxman Scalp Cooling machine

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The prospects of losing hair is one of the major factors that deter many women from avoiding cancer treatment involving chemotherapy. Now, a new method that helps protect the scalp is gaining popularity among young woman patients to gain confidence in completing the treatment.

Introduced some six months back, the Paxman Scalp Cooling has found acceptance among patients in the state. According to medical oncologists, the product is a useful component in treating breast cancer, which is also a highly curable disease with early intervention. 

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in the body. It works by targeting all rapidly growing cells including hair cells and it results in extensive hair loss two weeks after the chemotherapy. Hair loss affects the self-esteem of patients and creates a social stigma. 

Paxman Scalp Cooling in the form of a wearable cap attached to a machine is given before and after a normal chemotherapy session. It lowers the temperature, constricts the small blood vessels to the scalp and prevents the chemotherapy drug from reaching the hair follicles. 

“I have started giving the scalp cooling technology to my patients since July last year with an 80% success rate. Twenty per cent of them had no hair fall at all. Younger women are more motivated to use it,” said Dr Aju Mathew, oncologist at Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College, Kolenchery. 

“It is a useful technology as it motivates people, who are otherwise reluctant to undergo chemotherapy for fear of hair loss, to complete the treatment. Many hospitals are considering purchasing the machine,” he added.   According to him, the prevalence of breast cancer is increasing, but the number of people neglecting the early signs is also increasing.  Opting for scalp cooling will cost `2,000- 3,000 per chemotherapy session. It is also done at a subsidised rate or completely free by charitable funds associated with hospitals. 

Prevalence of breast cancer

India 30-40 patients per lakh

Kerala 60-70 patients per lakh

Developed countries 80-100 patients per lakh



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