Scalp Cooling System Provides Cancer Patients with Privacy and Dignity

A scalp cooling system, developed to help cancer patients, is now available at Turlock’s Emanuel Cancer Center.

On Friday, hospital leaders, employees and members of staffing gathered for a presentation on the new equipment, DigniCap, which is sponsored by the Bill and Elsie Ahlem Cancer Endowment.

“When the Bill and Elsie Ahlem Cancer Endowment approached our team about a new treatment that would reduce hair loss during cancer treatment, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it and offer it to our community,” said Murali Naidu, MD. , CEO of Emanuel Medical Center.

Hair loss is a common side effect of cancer treatment that can make some patients embarrassed or uncomfortable. DigniCap offers patients the ability to reduce hair loss due to certain chemotherapy treatments.

“On average, 65% of people undergoing cancer treatment experience hair loss associated with their treatments. For some cancer treatments, it can be as high as 100%,” Dr Naidu explained. “Cooling the scalp before chemotherapy has been shown in studies to reduce this hair loss, visible hair loss, by two-thirds. It’s a dramatic difference.

The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System consists of a computerized cooling unit which is managed via a touch screen and an attached cooling cap. Temperature-regulated coolant is continuously circulated through specially designed channels in the coolant cap. A reduced temperature causes less blood flow to the scalp area, so less chemotherapy reaches the hair cells. Therefore, the hair cells are not exposed to the full dose of chemotherapy and can survive the chemotherapy treatment. As a result, hair is less likely to fall out.

First invented by Swedish oncology nurse Yvonne Olafsson in 1996 and patented in 1998, the idea has been launched and used in many forms since then. Olafsson was the mastermind behind the DigniCap, a scalp cooling system that became available in 2015 in the United States when it received FDA clearance.

“Unfortunately, in terms of awareness, we’re trying to educate the world, because any of us can get cancer at any time,” said Melissa Bourestom, Dignitana’s director of communications. “Our hope is that by increasing awareness, especially among people who are in the healthcare community or among friends and family who may have heard of scalp cooling, people will say ‘you know , I heard that there is this thing that can help you save your hair. ‘”

In 2017, the FDA expanded the clearance to include men and women with solid tumor cancers undergoing chemotherapy.

The name DigniCap comes from the root dignitas, which means dignity in Latin.

“Being able to be in your life, doing what you want to do. Exactly. To make sure people can live the life they want to live,” Dr Naidu said.

“We thought of all the women who have had breast cancer, and on top of that, losing their hair just adds more stress. We felt that anything we could do to prevent it was worth it. “, said Jim Ahlem, spokesman for the endowment. “Thank you to everyone who is here. Thank you for all you do for our community.

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