In a move that could benefit cancer patients, especially women, the city-based Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has launched clinical trials to check if the use of a skull cap with cooling technology can reduce hair loss caused due to chemotherapy.
The technique is expected to restrict chemotherapy medication from affecting the scalp and thereby reducing hair fall.
The idea behind the experiment is to provide a psychological support to women, who go through the trauma of losing their hair. Already, women are under pressure after the diagnosis of cancer and such visible changes in appearance could worsen the situation, a medical officer of TMH, which is located in Parel in central Mumbai, said.
Talking to PTI, Dr Jyoti Bajpai and Associate Professor at Department of Medical Oncology at TMH, said, “We have selected four women patients suffering from breast cancer. They are in the early stage of diagnosis and the treatment has started. The women have agreed to take part in the experiment. We are keeping these women’s record, which will be compared with other women with similar cases, who are not using the cooling scalp technology. If the results are positive, then it can be replicated across the country.”
“Any woman goes through a lot of trauma because of such hair loss. The cooling scalp is already used in the UK widely. If our experiment brings good results, Indian women can also benefit out of it,” she said.
Dr Bajpai is heading the trials with a huge team from various departments.
The machine has two scalp coolers with cooling technology that can keep temperature as low as -4 degree Celsius. The circulation of coolant in the scalp helps in reducing the overall temperature, to expose the human head to such low temperature.
The idea is to minimize the blood supply to scalp. Low supply of blood means less supply of medicines as well, which are actually meant for targeting the cells that are dividing rapidly. As chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through the blood, the machines reduce the blood supply for some time to the scalp, she said.