The UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) is holding a scalp cooling masterclass for clinical staff on Feb 17 at London’s Guy’s Hospital.
Hair loss is consistently ranked in top 5 most distressing cancer chemotherapy side effects. However, despite being used in over 90% of NHS hospitals in the UK, the public’s awareness of scalp cooling is still relatively low. It is estimated that only 10% of the general public know what scalp cooling is, whilst 8% of patients refuse chemotherapy because they don’t want to lose their hair.
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 2 weeks after the commencement of the chemotherapy treatment. This damage to the hair follicle can be alleviated through 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. This in turn reduces the blood flow to hair follicles, which may prevent or minimise the hair loss.
Liquid coolant passes through the cap extracting heat from the patient’s scalp, ensuring the scalp remains at an even, constant temperature to minimise hair loss. The cap is made from lightweight, silicone tubing, which feels soft and flexible, moulding to the patient’s head to provide a snug, yet comfortable fit during treatment.
Hosted by scalp cooling pioneer Paxman, the session will discuss the importance of scalp cooling to patients and examine the science behind it. It will also include clinical updates, explore the myths and facts about the treatment and look at the importance of the cap fitting. There will also be a number of patient and clinical ‘pioneers’ at the event to talk about their personal experiences.
As well as running the master class, Paxman is also working with UK hospitals to deliver an in-depth clinical training programme to ensure that more healthcare professionals are trained on all aspects of the treatment including clinical data, hair care, troubleshooting and best practice assistance.
Claire Paxman, Sales & Training Manager at Paxman, explains: “Scalp cooling is an option for people going through chemotherapy, but sadly so many people have never heard of it. Others are put off from it because they have been given the wrong misconceptions of what it is actually like.”
“We want to change this and are working hard to raise awareness. That’s why it’s so important that clinical staff are armed with the facts and they understand what scalp cooling is and how it works.”
Claire added: “It’s our aim that the training will not only help each clinician personally in their role but it will also allow them to become a ‘clinical pioneer’ – ensuring that scalp cooling treatment is being offered to patients and is being used correctly and efficiently.”
“Scalp cooling may not be for everyone but it’s important that people at least know there is an alternative out there. Chemotherapy doesn’t automatically have to mean wigs or shaving your head and by working with clinicians we can help change this perception and together ‘change the face of cancer.”
Source: Paxman Coolers Ltd.