There is nothing even remotely tolerable about having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, but a new device could at least help women keep their hair during this difficult time. A new FDA approved cooling cap may soon be used on a larger scale. Prior to approval, many women already had success keeping their hair while using the cap.
Basically the device, called DigniCap, has an inner layer that is kept at 37 degrees F by cool liquid which circulates throughout the cap. Another layer holds the cap in place while keeping the cool temperature within. Once the coolness is applied to the scalp, the cells in the hair follicles divide less frequently and make them less appealing for the chemotherapy drugs to target them since they hone in on quickly dividing cells. In addition, the cooler temps slow down blood flow to the area making it less likely for much of the chemo drugs to make their way to the scalp.
During the FDA review of the DigniCap, 70% of the women kept their hair in situations that would normally lead to complete hair loss. The cap is designed to be worn for 30 minutes prior to chemo, during treatment and then for an additional 30 minutes to an hour after chemo has ended.