MADISON, Wis. - The Paxman scalp cooling system, which received FDA approval in May will soon be available to breast cancer patients at UW Carbone Cancer Clinics.
In clinical trials, the scalp cooling caps have been shown to help reduce hair loss in patients during chemotherapy treatment.
The Paxman scalp cooling system circulates a fluid through a silicone cap worn by a patient during chemotherapy treatment. The cap lowers the temperature of the scalp to between 64 and 71 degrees.
“The idea is that, if you can basically cool the scalp with a cooling fluid while patients are getting chemotherapy, what happens is the blood vessels that go to the scalp kind of constrict, which prevents chemotherapy from getting to the scalp,” said Dr. Ruth O’Regan, a breast cancer oncologist with UW Health.
Cooling caps can be used to reduce hair loss for patients with solid tumor cancers who are treated with certain chemotherapy drugs. The cooling caps cannot be used for patients with leukemia, or patients who cannot tolerate extremely cold temperatures.
UW is the first hospital in the upper Midwest to use the Paxman scalp cooling system. Chemotherapy nurses are being trained to use the system, which will be offered to patients starting Thursday.
Patients interested in the scalp cooling system should discuss it with their physician.
While the scalp cooling caps have been shown to be effective in preventing hair loss during chemotherapy, it does not work in all cases.
Health insurance does not currently pay for the scalp cooling system, which can cost between $1,300 and $2,200 per patient.
To help patients pay for the cooling caps, UW Health is seeking donations.
The Lighting the Way with Pink program will allow individuals to purchase one of the pink lights that will decorate the front entrance of University Hospital in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Pink lights can be reserved to celebrate someone special who has been touched by breast cancer.
One pink light can be reserved for $10, three for $25, 100 for $100, or an entire light grid for $500.
Reserve lights at: uwhealth.org/gopink, or by calling 608-890-9957.
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