Woman undergoing chemotherapy for stage 1 or 2 breast cancer at UPMC Pinnacle Breast Care Center can now use scalp cooling treatment to decrease the likelihood of losing their hair from chemotherapy. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is the first in central Pennsylvania to offer scalp cooling for patients with breast cancer.
Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, and this is the reason why many chemotherapy drugs cause alopecia. The hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked, resulting in hair loss approximately two weeks after the commencement of the chemotherapy treatment.
The damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle can be alleviated by using the scalp cooling treatment also known as the 'cold cap.' It works by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. Although successful scalp cooling depends on many factors, research and studies have shown that scalp cooling can be safe and effective for certain chemotherapy regimens used for breast cancer.
Studies are showing that women with early-stage breast cancer who underwent scalp-cooling treatments were significantly more likely to keep at least some of their hair during chemotherapy, states Theresa Lee, MD, breast medical oncologist, UPMC. By offering this option to our patients with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer, we give them a greater sense of control and alleviate what can be an emotionally difficult part of treatment.
Patients interested in Scalp Cooling should contact their insurer about coverage prior to treatment.
UPMC Breast Care Center
Located at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the Rocco and Nancy Ortenzio Cancer Pavilion
2025 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
UPMC Breast Care Center
Located at Medical Sciences Pavilion
4300 Londonderry Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
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