If you’re starting a chemotherapy treatment soon, you may worry about losing your hair. But what if we told you you could minimize any chemo hair loss — if not completely prevent it? Recent studies shed light on the possibilities of retaining hair during chemotherapy treatment using cool caps. The good news is that the findings about cool caps are encouraging.
Losing hair is a common side effect of chemotherapy since the drugs target rapidly dividing cells (like hair and nail cells). Certain drugs are even more likely to cause hair loss because of their toxicity. Taxotere (docetaxel) in particular, has been used for decades and like many cancer drugs, causes hair loss. But it is unique in that it has been linked to permanent and irreversible hair loss. Many patients never see hair regrowth — even decades after their cancer treatment.
Studies About Cool Caps Show Significantly Less Hair Loss in Taxotere Patients
A 2013 study administered 238 patients with Taxotere — only they received the drug while wearing cool caps. Cool caps (or cold cap, or Paxman PSC-2 machine [PAX]), are tightly fitting, helmet-type hats. A gel coolant in the cool cap narrows the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp. This reduces the amount of chemotherapy medicine that reaches the hair follicles. And with less chemotherapy medicine in the follicles, hair could be less likely to fall out.
In the 2013 study, 128 patients received PAX, 71 received cool caps, while 39 received no cooling device. Alopecia (hair loss) occurred with all three subject groups. But overall, the cooling systems (PAX and cool caps) reduced the risk of alopecia by 78%! Since Taxotere is associated with persistent and even permanent hair loss, this could be a game-changer for cancer patients.
A second study published in 2015 also showed promising results — though with a smaller test group. 20 women at the Weill Cornell Breast Center who elected to use scalp cooling with cool caps participated. Hair assessments were made before each chemotherapy treatment and at follow-up visits. All of them were using Taxotere in their drug regimen.
Of the 20 patients, 10% said they needed to wear a wig or head covering during the follow-up visit. But the alopecia score levels were excellent for 65% of patients and good for 25%. Patients reported hair thinning after chemotherapy cycles, but many did not report total hair loss.
Cool Caps Are Promising to Prevent Total Hair Loss
Most women want the strongest chemotherapy treatment with the highest survival rate. But avoiding persistent or permanent hair loss is an important part of survivor care. Cool caps can help cancer patients prevent total, permanent hair loss with Taxotere.
But keep in mind that Taxotere is not your only option for your cancer treatment. Competitor Taxol is just as effective minus the risk of permanent alopecia. There are other alternatives as well. But if Taxotere is your chosen route, bring up this preventative option to your doctor prior to treatment. Studies show that it is effective — and could keep you from being one of the thousands of women suing Taxotere’s manufacturer.
How Taxotere Hair Loss Victims Can Get the Justice and Compensation They Deserve
Despite years of evidence, Taxotere’s manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn patients of the risk of permanent alopecia. As a result, thousands of women and men have suffered from disfigurement and loss of lifestyle. Cancer patients are filing lawsuits against the manufacturer for negligence and failure to warn.
To check your own eligibility for compensation, complete your free online Taxotere claim evaluation today. You’ll answer just three short questions and see your evaluation results instantly online. After submitting your information, an experienced lawyer will call to discuss how to get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Related: “Is My Hair Loss Eligible for a Taxotere Cash Settlement?”
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.