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Scalp Cooling Tested in U.S.

Scalp Cooling Tested in U.S.

A common treatment for chemotherapy patients in Europe is now being tested here in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration is testing "scalp cooling."  This is when patients wear a cold compress of some kind on their head while undergoing chemotherapy.  

The claim is that the near freezing temperatures numb the scalp and prevent blood from reaching the hair follicles.  This also keeps the chemo in the blood from reaching the hair which normally causes it to fall out.

Dr. Tejash Patel who is the Chief of Hematology and Oncology at Kelsey-Seybold says all cancer patients ask about their hair falling out, "when someone has alopecia they are marked as someone who might be ill or sick or is undergoing treatment and that changes the way people perceive them." 

The treatment has not been approved in the U.S. because of concerns that stray cancer cells could avoid the chemotherapy if they are hiding out in the scalp, causing a higher risk of cancer relapse.

 

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