Blocking Hair Loss in Chemotherapy

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women worldwide, which means that many women will undergo treatment for this disease in their life. The commonly used chemotherapy for treating breast cancer is well-known for the side effect of hair loss. Research shows that cooling the scalp can help reduce the hair loss induced by chemotherapy.

A new research study that recruited women from several medical centers across the United States recently reported in the medical journal JAMA that women with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer who were provided scalp cooling lost only half the amount of hair as expected after chemotherapy. Scalp cooling is achieved by wearing a cooling cap during (and for 90 minutes after) each chemotherapy session. This new research found that 5% of women kept all their hair and more than half of the women retained at least half their hair. Most women who receive chemotherapy and do not use a cooling cap can be expected to lose most or all of their hair.

This scalp cooling method is already being used in more than 30 countries, for the purpose of minimizing hair loss after chemotherapy, and this new study adds support to the validity of women being offered this during breast cancer treatment.


Nangia J, Wang T, Osborne C. Effect of a scalp cooling device on alopecia in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. JAMA 2017;317(6):596-605

Scalp cooling can help some breast cancer patients retain hair. newwise Febuary 27, 2017.

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