New England Cancer Specialists will soon offer scalp-cooling technology to help reduce hair loss in cancer patients


By Chiara Battelli MD, President & Lead Physician at New England Cancer Specialists

A cancer diagnosis can change many things about our lives. As patients move forward with their doctor to examine treatment options, one of the major concerns they express is hair loss associated with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict who will lose their hair even though it is a common and significant side effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Studies have shown that hair loss during cancer treatment can lead to lower self-esteem and feelings of depression, ultimately causing up to 10% of patients to forego chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy drugs damage hair follicles in a variety of ways: some drugs cause hair thinning or hair loss only on the scalp, while others can cause hair to thin or fall out on the arms, legs, underarms, eyebrows, or eyelashes. If a person is going to lose hair during treatment, it is likely to begin within 2 weeks of starting chemotherapy, becoming worse in the 1 to 2 months after therapy starts.

At New England Cancer Specialists, we are dedicated to making life better for people with cancer and blood disorders. This includes doing all that we can to help women and men who may be concerned about hair loss during their treatment. We are proud to announce that by the end of this year, scalp cooling technology will be available to all our breast cancer or solid tumor patients who want it.

Scalp cooling technology works by lowering the temperature of the scalp before, during and after an infusion of chemotherapy, and the data behind this technology is strong: there is a 50% chance of keeping 50% or more of your hair if you use scalp cooling—and studies suggest that your hair will grow back faster, stronger, and healthier.