Baptist, Lourdes hospitals welcome tech to help chemo patients keep hair

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Cold Cap technology can help chemotherapy patients keep their hair during treatment.

Baptist Health Paducah and Mercy Health Lourdes Hospital both announced last week that they now offer cold-cap technology that will allow oncology patients to retain their hair through the cooling of their scalp while they receive chemotherapy treatment.

According to press releases from both hospitals, the new Paxman Scalp Cooling System uses a "cold cap" to reduce the scalp temperature immediately before, during and after a chemotherapy treatment. The cooling reduces the blood flow to hair follicles which helps to prevent or minimize the loss of hair.

The cap lowers the temperature of the scalp to between 64 and 71 degrees.

"Losing hair can be a devastating side effect of chemotherapy for some cancer patients," said Michael Tutor, executive director of oncology and imaging services at Baptist Health. "We are excited to be offering the Paxman system at Baptist Health Paducah to help some patients avoid hair loss. It's just one way we can eliminate some of their stress."

"We are pleased to be the first in the region to offer this new adjunctive treatment to chemotherapy that has been proven to reduce hair loss," said Michael Yungmann, CEO of Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital. "Even better is the fact we can offer our patients cold cap therapy for free thanks to the generous grant from Stomp."

Each cap is fitted to the specification of the patient, who will own the cap and use it during subsequent therapy sessions.

While patients are receiving chemotherapy, the caps are hooked to computers at the infusion center that will maintain the cap's temperature near freezing.

The cold restricts the blood vessels of the scalp, limiting blood flow to hair follicles.

"The end result is that less chemotherapy medication ends up in the hair follicle's cells and thus the patient retains more hair," said John Montville, executive director of Lourdes' oncology service line.