“This unique method has helped thousands of cancer patients worldwide prevent hair loss,” says Dr. Viraj Lavingia of HCG Cancer Centre, Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], July 25: Losing hair is one of the most painful experiences of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. It is especially the case for women patients. But not any longer; Scalp cooling is an innovative method that has helped thousands of cancer patients worldwide prevent hair loss.
In Ahmedabad, scalp cooling is being pioneered by Dr. Viraj Lavingia, Medical Oncologist at HCG Cancer Centre.
“Scalp cooling is a clinically proven method of preventing hair loss due to certain chemotherapy agents. Earlier, we used to come across many patients who simply refused chemotherapy because of the fear and stigma of losing hair. That has not been the case since we introduced the scalp cooling system. With a success rate of over 70%, the system has been highly effective in preventing hair loss among the patients,” said Dr. Viraj Lavingia.
The scalp cooling method has been used in Europe for quite some time and is also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The scalp cooling system used by Dr. Viraj Lavingia has been developed by Paxman, a company based out of the UK.
Explaining how the scalp cooling method works, he said, “Chemotherapy targets the fast-dividing cells in the body. Since hair is the second fastest dividing cell, chemo drugs cause hair loss. The scalp cooling therapy keeps the hair follicles chilled before, during, and after chemotherapy.
It causes the blood vessels in the scalp to shrink, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy medicine that reaches the hair follicles. It makes the hair less likely to fall out.”
While the physical benefit of the scalp cooling method is well-known, the option to avoid hair loss also boosts the psychological well-being of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Even in cases where there is some hair loss during chemotherapy, the hair grows back after chemotherapy in some cases since the scalp cooling therapy successfully protects the hair follicles from damage.
According to Dr. Lavingia, the scalp cooling method is used for patients with all solid tumour cancers that are treated with chemotherapy drugs. However, it is not used for patients with blood cancers and those undergoing bone marrow transplants.
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