London hospital tests cooling caps donated by charities to help cancer patients maintain their hair

A small Barnet charity has helped cancer patients by donating two machines to minimize hair loss during chemotherapy treatment. The innovative scalp-cooling devices are already up and running at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield thanks to the fundraising efforts of the charity Barnet and District CancerLink.

Volunteers raised £22,000 to provide Chase Farm’s hematology and oncology day unit with two Paxman Scalp Cooling System units. The machines use a cooling technique through silicone scalp caps to reduce blood flow to the hair follicles during treatment.

This results in the minimization of chemotherapy-induced alopecia in patients. Hair loss is recognized as one of the most traumatic side effects of cancer treatment, with one in eight patients saying they would refuse treatment because of it.

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Each scalp cooling machine can be used for two patients at a time, and staff at the Chase Farm unit said the patients had been given a ride upon arrival. Sister Flore Dohmatob, who modeled one of the cooling caps, said, “It has given us and the patients a lot of joy and we are so grateful to be able to help more patients.

“Before we only had one machine to treat two patients. But now we can treat six, which is a huge thing for us and the patients.” He added: “It doesn’t stop hair loss but it creates new growth faster.

“After three months, you can see the hair come back in those who use the machines, but it takes longer for those who don’t.” Midwife Julia Chapman said: “It’s not just for women, it’s an option for men too. It’s really amazing”.


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