Scalp cooling works by constricting the blood vessels, limiting the amount of chemo being introduced to the hair follicle, thus reducing the amount of hair loss. Everyone will experience some amount of shedding; however the amount of shedding is different for everyone. Please also remember that everybody’s metabolism is different, so hair shedding can happen at different times.
We do fully disclose this on our website, in our patient literature, and in the patient consent form signed at payment that scalp cooling results are variable and that there is not a guarantee of success.
The DigniCap Clinical trial demonstrated a success rate of about 66% for patients on Taxane-based regimens. (Success is defined as losing less than 50% of their hair.) Since that published study, many of our patients have reported an even higher degree of success.
There are many factors that go into a success story, and some patients have also found that their hair grows back faster and at a more normal texture when using scalp cooling – even if they experienced substantial hair loss. In fact, some scalp cooling patients have reported new hair growing back while still going through chemotherapy.
An Italian study published in 2019 assessed the effectiveness of scalp cooling with DigniCap for patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy with an anthracycline with or without taxanes. DigniCap was able to prevent significant hair loss in 43% of breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.
For more information about the DigniCap and anthracyclines CLICK HERE.
Factors that can affect scalp cooling outcomes:
- The type of drug
- The dosage and frequency of the drugs
- How the body responds to the drugs (how it is metabolized)
- How the body responds to scalp cooling
- The amount and quality of hair a patient has prior to treatment
- If the patient is keeping up with the hair care recommendations
- If this is not the patients first time on chemo, when was the last time? If recent, did they use scalp cooling?
- Other medical conditions that can cause hair thinning/loss (thyroid, autoimmune, etc)
- Other medications that can cause hair thinning/loss
- Age can sometimes make a difference
- Has the patient had surgery recently? The stress of surgery can sometimes cause hair loss
- Is the patient anemic? Low iron levels can possibly cause hair loss
We recommend continuing with the hair care recommendations for the duration of your treatment and for 2-3 months after you finish chemo, as the side effects of chemo in the body can last anywhere between 3 and 6 months after the last infusion.