This decision making guide will give you specific information about your potential hair retention based on data from the Dutch Scalp Cooling Registry. This is a source with data from over 7000 patients that will give you the most accurate indication of what you can expect.
The more information you can give the more accurate an indication you will get – chemo type will give an indication but chemo type and dosage will give you the most accurate possible information about your potential outcomes.
If you are waiting on confirmation for your treatment plan, it would be a good idea to revisit the guide when you have your chemo details.
It is also important that this data is interpreted as an indication of what is possible. The number the guide produces is an average, therefore you could see better or worse hair retention. There are no guarantees but it will help you to identify realistic expectations.
Start by choosing:
Select an option:
Below you will find an indication of the amount of hair you could potentially keep with scalp cooling.
With Scalp Cooling
*You are % likely to retain 50% or more of your hair, if you cold cap.
Please note that this number is a guide based on current research data. You could potentially retain more or less than indicated.
Unfortunatley we do not know the retention rate for your option
Remember, scalp cooling is different for everybody.
Each person’s experience and outcomes from cold capping are different. For some people this can add more uncertainty to an already stressful and upsetting time. For others there is a comfort in knowing they tried and all hair retention is a bonus.
While the decision making guide can give you an indication of retention, the scalp cooling process is much more complex than a number. There is so much emotion tied up in cancer treatment and hair loss that the decision whether scalp cooling is right for you is multi-dimensional.
Be realistic but be positive…
Ask yourself the following questions, would they effect your choice…
Are you prepared to do research and follow guidance and advice?
We know that an informed patient has a better outcome. The more you are prepared to find out about the scalp cooling process and stick to that information, the more likely you are to feel comfortable with what is happening to you and not only persist with scalp cooling to the end of treatment, but be content with your hair retention.
Do you expect your hair to look the same at the end of chemo?
If the answer to this is yes, you will need to reconsider. Scalp cooling will help you to retain your hair, but it cannot save every strand. Even for those receiving drug regimens that see the best retention levels, there will be some level of shedding through treatment. Other people may not notice, but it is highly likely that you will notice a change in your hair.
How would you feel about noticeable hair loss?
While noticeable hair loss doesn’t happen to everyone, it is a possibility. Whether that is consistent thinning or patchy hair loss, it is possible that those who know you well may notice if you sustain hair loss. However, many patients who have used scalp cooling were delighted that they could go about their daily lives without people really noticing anything about their hair.
Are you scalp cooling for hair retention, or for fast strong regrowth too?
Hair retention is understandably most people’s priority when it comes to scalp cooling, but it is also important to remember that scalp cooling will also promote stronger, healthier and faster regrowth. This can make the difference between a bob or a pixie cut a couple of months post chemo rather than a completely bald head, even if you retain less hair than you would have liked. It can give you some choices.
What % of hair retention would you consider to be a success?
Only you can answer that question. Our above decision-making aid hopefully will have given you an indication of what you can expect. The numbers can look scary, but remember the number is the percentage chance of retaining 50% or more of your hair. There are no guarantees, but what we can say is that without scalp cooling you are likely to lose most if not all of your hair.
Are you aware that shedding is an inevitable part of scalp cooling?
Shedding scares a lot of people. It’s the bit that you really want to avoid, but unfortunately it is a part of scalp cooling. It varies from person to person and from drug to drug, but you need to expect shedding at some level throughout your treatment. If you would like to find out more, you can read our blog post here.
Do you have a generally positive outlook?
Positivity is your greatest ally during scalp cooling. It can be challenging, but identifying the positives can make a real difference to the way you experience treatment. Try to focus on the hair you still have on your head rather than the hair that has shed. Think about regrowth and remember that this will not go on for ever. If everything is a bonus, then you are setting yourself up for a great outcome.
Are you comfortable that there are no guarantees about retaining your hair?
As with all things that effect the body, people respond differently to scalp cooling. This can be about the drug regimen that they are receiving, but even two people on the same treatment plan can see different retention. This means that there are no guarantees and as mentioned above the number from the decision-making aid is an indication – you could see more or less retention.
How do you feel about changing your hair care regime while cold capping?
We have lots of advice around haircare during scalp cooling here – https://coldcap.com/hair-care/ and on our blog – https://coldcaphaircare.com/shedding/
Haircare isn’t complicated but it will mean being very gentle with your hair during and for a little while after treatment. This means no dying your hair, washing your hair less frequently, no heated styling products like curling tongs or flat irons and only hair products that are colour, perfume, sulphate and paraben free.
Have you looked at other people’s outcome with a regimen similar to yours in our Patient Stories?
The honest experiences of others who have bene through the process can be really helpful to give you an idea of what scalp cooling really is like. You can find these on our patient stories page, and also on our Facebook Group. It is important to look at the experience of those who had a similar drug regimen to you so that you have a realistic idea of what has been possible for others.
Do you consider your expectations to be realistic?
This can be really difficult, but if you are hoping to have a completely full head of hair at the end of scalp cooling, you may well be disappointed. A realistic expectation built around what other people on your regimen have achieved while scalp cooling is likely to give you an experience that is much easier to deal with. Read about the journeys of other people and get to know what you could be looking at. It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of patients, whether they saw a lot of retention or not would absolutely recommend scalp cooling.
How would you feel if you need to wear a wig or a topper for a while during or after chemo?
This is an option that some people choose during treatment, either to cover hair loss in certain areas, or because they feel more comfortable at an event or are just sometimes having a bad hair day. It is a choice, not everyone needs or chooses to use hair pieces or a wig, but for some it is a great comfort and allows them to feel more like themselves as their hair grows and recovers.
Are you prepared for how you will feel about your hair changing, even if no one else notices?
For a lot of people retaining your hair through scalp cooling can give a very welcome level of privacy. Some people have gone through chemotherapy without telling their family or work without anyone knowing. But it is very likely that you will notice a change in your own hair, even if that is only as you should be washing your hair less often. You may feel like you have an extended bad hair day, but as one patient once said, I would rather have years of bad hair days than no hair at all.
Do you feel equipped to cope with uncertainty around hair retention?
Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. Scalp cooling can bring an additional element of uncertainty or anxiety in to this experience. For a lot of patients this is worth it, but for some it is something they don’t want to deal with.
Are you determined to see your outcome as a success or a compromise?
If you would consider every retained hair a win then scalp cooling is definitely for you. If every lost hair is unbearable, then scalp cooling may not be an appropriate choice for you.
Do you feel ready to try Scalp Cooling?
Or speak to others for advice
The result given by this decision aid is for informational purposes only and is intended only to give an indication of potential effectiveness of the scalp cooling treatment in relation to your prescribed drug, comparing that against over 7,000 past records. Each patient is different and no assurance or guarantee can be given as to the actual result of treatment.
Data courtesy of IKNL Glossary Data.