We Proudly provide Dignicap®, Hair Saving Technology for Breast Cancer Patients receiving Chemotherapy.
It is First Scalp Cooling System Cleared by the FDA for Use in the United States. Since March, 2016, we have offered this at our Tate Office in Baltimore Washington Medical Center(305 Hospital Dr. Suite 200 Glen Burnie, MD 21061).
COHA is the First Oncology Practice in the Entire Mid-Atlantic Region to Offer This Breakthrough Technology to Prevent Chemotherapy-induced Hair Loss for Breast Cancer Patients!
San Antonio- A new non-profit is providing financial support for cancer patients to afford treatment for hair loss.
“My children were able to not really have any memory of their mom having cancer,” said cancer survivor Tricia Strong.
Tricia Strong is a cancer survivor.
She didn’t experience massive hair loss because during her chemotherapy sessions she underwent scalp cooling to prevent hair loss and help keep her illness private.
“It made the treatment much easier to get through,” said Strong.
Not everyone undergoing chemotherapy can get the same experience as Strong did.
That’s because scalp cooling can get pricey and isn’t covered by all insurance companies.
“We treat for every side effect of chemo, this is the worst side effect, it should be covered,” said Strong.
That’s why ‘Hair to Stay’ is helping make scalp cooling a reality for cancer patients who can’t afford it.
The non-profit provides grants of up to $1,000 to qualified patients.
“We have given subsidies to over 250 patients for scalp cooling,” said Hair to Stay Executive Director.
A quality of life study was conducted to capture the success rate of scalp cooling using Dignicap.
Results showed more than 66% of the patients using the Dignicap saw success.
“Our hope is that once this quality of life data is reported that insurance companies will start covering scalp cooling more often,” said Susan Melin.
So cancer survivors like strong don’t have to worry about the physical side effects of chemotherapy.
“To be able to look in the mirror and not look like my disease was for me very helpful through my recovery,” said Strong.
To apply click here.
1.Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss?
Chemotherapy is designed to kill rapidly dividing mutated cancerous cells. While chemotherapy is often the most important part of your treatment process, chemo agents also attack other cells in your body that are naturally rapidly dividing; like your hair.
2. Why Breast Cancer Patients Need this Cap?
For breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, hair loss has been considered an inevitable side effect. For many patients, losing their hair is more than just a matter of vanity. It’s an unwelcome reminder of their disease for the patient and their families – one that can negatively impact self-image, confidence and an overall sense of wellbeing.
3. What is the the DigniCap® system consists of and how does it work?
It is a snug-fitting silicone cooling cap connected to a computer-operated cooling and control unit. Coolant continuously circulates through channels in the cap, cooling the scalp during chemotherapy. A sophisticated system of sensors ensures that optimal temperature is continuously maintained throughout treatment. The DigniCap® system lowers scalp temperature which in turn helps protect hair follicles from the damaging effects of chemo by reducing blood flow and cell metabolism.
When a patient’s scalp is hypothermically cooled, two physiologic reactions occur:
(1) The blood vessels in the localized scalp area constrict (vasoconstriction): the narrowed blood vessels limit the amount of chemotherapy agents delivered to scalp area.
(2) Slowed metabolic processes: a reduced scalp temperature causes normal cellular activity in the localized scalp area to slow dramatically. This means that much fewer chemotherapy agents become absorbed by the hair cells and damage is significantly reduced.
4. How different from non-FDA cleared manual cold caps?
First of all, the DigniCap® System is the only scalp cooling system to be cleared by the FDA for the treatment of breast cancer patients in the U.S. The DigniCap® System incorporates a number of features and technological advances that combine to improve the patient experience. The cooling cap has two dedicated temperature regulation sensors in each cap that monitors scalp temperature and a third safety sensor to ensure that the scalp temperature never falls below 32º F/ Oº C. Also, the cooling cap is fitted once at the start of treatment and remains on until completion.
The system also employs special clinicians to operate the system for each of its patients. The clinicians are all well-versed and knowledge on the system, and allows hospital employees to continue to do their own jobs without being overwhelmed by learning a new technology.
DigniCap vs Manual Cold Cap
5. What are expected during my DigniCap® Treatment?
The DigniCap® scalp cooling system will be used at each cycle on the day of chemotherapy administration. The silicone cooling cap will be fitted to your head by the infusion center nurses 30 minutes before you start the chemotherapy treatment (pre-infusion cooling time). A neoprene outer cap will then be placed over the silicone cap to provide insulation and to help ensure a snug fit. You will wear the cap throughout your chemotherapy infusion (infusion cooling time), and for a set period after the completion of chemotherapy treatment (post-infusion cooling time).
The silicone cap is connected to the cooling and control unit; therefore, you are required to stay next to the system during the scalp cooling treatment. It is possible to disconnect the cap from the system for short breaks, e.g., for rest room visits. During the break, the cooling cap with its outer neoprene cap remains on your head. Depending on chemotherapy drug and dose, the post-infusion cooling time will last for 30-150 minutes. Once post-infusion cooling is complete, the cap will be kept on your head for 15 minutes as the cap warms up to diminish any discomfort.
Step 1: Cap Sizing and Fitting
It is important that the silicone cap is fitted very closely to the scalp (i.e., over the entire area of hair). Any air trapped between the scalp and the cap has an insulating effect, which may negatively affect the cooling and results. To ensure a good fit you will try different sizes of caps, before the first scalp cooling treatment. The cooling cap is available in four different sizes, XS, S, M and L. Recommendation: During the scalp cooling treatment the number of breaks from cooling should be held to a minimum. It’s recommend that you go to the rest room before you start scalp cooling.
Step 2: Wetting the Hair
Before fitting the cap, wet your hair thoroughly with water to improve the thermal contact between your scalp and the cooling cap. Once wet, comb your hair flat. Recommendation: Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo at home prior to the scalp cooling/chemotherapy session. Greasy hair may affect the thermal contact.
Step 3: Applying the Cooling Cap
First the silicone cap is applied and then the neoprene outer cap is placed over it.
Step 4: Connecting the Cap to the Cooling Unit
The cooling cap will now be connected to the cooling and control unit.
Step 5: Commencement of the Scalp Cooling Treatment
Once the cooling cap is connected to the system, the scalp cooling treatment can begin. The cooling and control unit is operated by the hospital personnel. When the treatment starts, the temperature on the scalp gradually decreases from room temperature to the target temperature of 37-41° F (3-5° C).
Step 6: Completion
After completion of the post-infusion cooling time, the cooling cap remains on your scalp for another 15 minutes to allow the temperature to slowly increase to diminish any discomfort. Once the cap has been removed, avoid a sudden increase of scalp temperature and blood-flow by letting your hair dry naturally.
6. How long does scalp cooling treatment last?
The scalp cooling device is operated by a certified technician and will be used during each chemotherapy session. Scalp cooling begins approximately 30 minutes before chemotherapy starts, continues during the infusion of hair loss causing chemo agents, and then continues for a set period afte depending on the chemotherapy drug and dose. With many regimens, patients will need to maintain a reduced scalp temperature for 30 – 150 minutes following the completion of their chemotherapy infusion. After completion of the post-infusion cooling time, the cooling cap remains on your scalp for another 15 minutes to allow temperature to slowly increase and diminish any discomfort.
7. How should I take care of my hair while undergoing Dignicap treatment?
Chemotherapy can cause scalp irritation and cause your hair to become dry, brittle and more difficult to manage. The following recommendations will help insure you get the best results from your Dignicap treatment:
- Wash your hair at home prior to the scalp cooling/chemotherapy session. Greasy hair may affect the thermal contact. However, avoid daily shampooing. Shampoo less if your hair begins to feel dry
- Use lukewarm water (avoid hot water) and gentle shampoo
- Avoid applying heat to hair with appliances such as blow-dryers, curling irons, straightening irons, and hot rollers. Let your hair dry naturally as much as possible.
- Avoid applying products that contain harsh chemicals to your hair such as the following: Peroxides for hair coloring, Perms to curl or straighten hair, Parabens (such a methylparaben and propylparaben) that are commonly used as preservatives in hair products, Sodium laurel sulfate is a foaming agent and will remove natural oils in the hair, Silicones that are commonly used to tame or “de-frizz” the hair, Limit brushing or combing of your hair. It’s recommended that you use a wide tooth comb, Avoid hair accessories such as rubber bands and headbands that pull on the hair.
8.Will Insurance Cover DigniCap® Treatments?
Unfortunately insurance currently doesn’t cover the cost. We hope this will become more standard practice in the future.
9. How much dose it cost?
The device will cost between $1,500 and $3,000 (that’s $300 to $600 a treatment, and breast cancer patients typically average four to six treatments, according to Hornthal) for use through cancer treatment centers.
10. Will scalp cooling work for me?
The DigniCap® scalp cooling system has received FDA Clearance specifically to reduce the likelihood of chemotherapy-induced alopecia in women with breast cancer. However, cooling of the scalp is a proven approach to reduce chemotherapy-induced hair loss that has been used successfully by tens of thousands of patients worldwide with a variety of cancers and chemotherapy regimens.The DigniCap® FDA multi-site scalp cooling trial proved that scalp cooling is a safe and effective method for reducing the risk of chemotherapy-induced hair loss for breast cancer patients. However, almost everyone can expect to experience some degree of hair loss during chemotherapy. The outcome is dependent on several factors including the chemotherapy regimen, dose, duration of drug infusion, chemotherapy drug metabolism, and concomitant comorbidities. The DigniCap® System has been evaluated with regimens that include taxanes (such as paclitaxel and docetaxel) and anthracyclines (such as doxorubicin). The effectiveness of scalp cooling with chemotherapy regimens that include both anthracycline and taxane chemotherapy is not currently recommended by Dignitana. Your clinician can tell you if scalp cooling is suitable for your specific condition and treatment plan.