Scalp-cooling technology helps breast cancer patients keep their hair

Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 8:07 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - In light of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cancer center in Jonesboro shines a light on a shivering cold treatment that helps some chemotherapy patients keep their hair.

The NEA Baptist Cancer Center offers cold caps and scalp cooling treatments to all chemotherapy patients. However, Nurse Practitioner Elizabeth Sneed said they have no patients actively using the device.

“Hair loss to women is detrimental,” Sneed said.

Ashley Robinette is a nurse navigator at the cancer center, as well as a 6-year breast cancer survivor. She said she was first diagnosed in October of 2017 and knew hair loss was coming sooner or later.

“It started falling out about 2 weeks after my first treatment. So, pretty quick,” Robinette said. “I had long hair at first, but I cut it three times before I started chemo because I didn’t want the big clumps falling out.”

NEA’s Paxman Scalp Cooling System is a freezing cold, helmet-like hat that chemotherapy patients wear during treatment. It gives an accurate reading of how much hair they will retain.

Sneed said it “identifies with each individual person” because it all depends on the chemo medication the patient takes and how much.

Sneed said the device usually responds best to chemotherapies such as Paclitaxel and Taxane drugs.

Robinette said if there had been a hair-saving treatment in 2017, she would have done anything.

“I had really curly hair, so just to hold onto that and try to look as close to normal as possible,” Robinette said. “Because you go through a lot of changes.”

Sneed said if hair loss is not a side effect of your chemo, you will not need the freeze cap treatment. However, for many breast cancer patients, it’s one of the most common side effects.

If you’re interested in the treatment, visit for more information.