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Scalp cooling can help cancer patients keep their hair

Scalp cooling has been used for the past few years to help some cancer patients keep their hair. Those devices were limited to breast cancer patients only, but are now known to be effective for people with other types. 

A silicone cooling cap with gel covers the scalp, and another cap keeps it snug. It lowers the temperature of the scalp, causing the blood vessels to constrict. This prevents chemotherapy from getting to the hair follicles and can reduce the amount of hair loss. 

In addition to breast cancer, the FDA has now expanded the use of cooling caps for patients with ovarian, colorectal, and prostate cancers. 

Cooling systems are not covered by insurance. The cap costs $500 and each treatment is roughly $200 out of pocket. 

As we reported in December, the Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center in Lynchburg has this for patients to use.