Cold Cap Therapy

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If your cancer treatment plan includes chemotherapy, it’s natural to worry about losing your hair. But cold cap therapy significantly reduces this risk – and it’s available at Nuvance Health®.

What is Cold Cap Therapy?

Chemotherapy (chemo) destroys fast-growing cells, including hair follicles. This damage causes the hair on your head to fall out after a few weeks. It typically does not grow back until months after treatment is completed. 

Cold cap for chemo cools your scalp reducing blood flow to the follicles and shielding them from the effects of chemotherapy. 

Insurance often covers cold cap therapy. Depending on the type of coverage you have, there may be out-of-pocket costs. 

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How does cold capping work?

You’ll undergo cold capping treatments before and after each chemotherapy session wearing a lightweight, snug-fitting cap that attaches to the cooling unit. The machine circulates a cooling solution through special tubes in the cap to bring down the temperature of your scalp. 

Nuvance Health uses advanced cold cap technology that applies the cooling solution throughout your scalp. This technology enables us to maintain a consistent temperature during treatment, so you achieve excellent outcomes. 
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Effectiveness, benefits and risks of scalp cooling

  • Effectiveness of scalp cooling

    For cold cap therapy to work, you must use it before and after every chemotherapy session. Missing just one session reduces effectiveness and increases the chances of hair loss.

    Other factors that can impact success include:

    • Tumor type: Cold cap for chemo is most effective for solid tumors such as breast cancer. We do not recommend it for cancers like leukemia and lymphoma that may live in blood cells near your scalp.
    • Chemotherapy regimen: Outcomes are better when treatments involve only one or two chemotherapy drugs. Also, high doses of chemotherapy lowers the chances of successful scalp cooling. 
    • Hair type: Hairstyles that allow the scalp to maintain close contact with the cooling cap achieve better outcomes. If you have thick hair, you may want to pull it back with a hair tie. We do not recommend small, tight braids or dreadlocks. 
  • Benefits of scalp cooling
    You can expect reduced or slowed hair loss and shedding with cold capping. Along with less hair loss comes the possibility that friends and loved ones may never notice you’re undergoing chemotherapy. For many people, feeling like they have some control in their treatment is another benefit. 
  • Risks of scalp cooling

    There are very few risks associated with cold capping, rather inconveniences. While many people experience positive results, there are no guarantees about hair retention rates. You should expect hair shedding to occur at some level throughout chemotherapy treatment and afterward. 

    Other potential downsides to treatment include: 

    • Haircare changes: You’ll need to make changes your haircare routine, such as shampooing less, using specific products and avoiding some styling methods.  
    • Potential discomfort: The cold cap may be uncomfortable during treatment, making your scalp and body cold. There may also be headaches or nausea. If the side effects are too much to bear, you can discontinue therapy at any time. 
    • Extended chemo sessions: Cold cap for chemo significantly extends treatment times. Patients typically undergo a one-hour cooling before chemotherapy begins. After chemotherapy, additional cold cap cooling takes another one to two hours. 

Why Choose us?

Cold Cap Therapy at Nuvance Health

At Nuvance Health, you have access to leading chemotherapy options and a knowledgeable team. If you are eligible for scalp cooling, we provide the information you need to decide whether it’s right for you. 

We are one of the few programs in New York’s Hudson Valley and Western Connecticut offering cold cap for chemotherapy hair loss prevention. This service is available in multiple locations for convenient care close to home.

Preserving your hair through cold cap therapy is one of the many ways we are attentive to your needs and preferences. Compassionate oncology nurses are with you at each session. You also have access to a broad range of supportive therapies, including assistance from social workers and financial navigators.  
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