Location: the United States of America

Does scalp cooling work?

Does scalp cooling work is one of the first questions most people
ask when they find out about the treatment. The short answer is yes. Here you will find more detail on that important question.

Scalp cooling efficacy

Efficacy is the term used in medicine to describe how effective something is. 
It would be really easy if there was one answer for how well scalp cooling works, but unfortunately it isn’t that simple. There are quite a few factors that influence scalp cooling outcomes:
There are quite a few factors that influence scalp cooling outcomes:
Chemotherapy drug regimen and dose
Different drugs have differing side effects, with some being much harder on the hair follicles than others
Cap size and fit
A poor cap fit can make it hard to consistently cool the scalp resulting in hair loss
Each person’s unique response to the chemotherapy drugs and scalp cooling
This is known as individual biological response. You can treat two people with the same diagnosis with the same drugs, and see different amounts of hair retention
While it is impossible to give specific answers to the question ‘How much hair will I keep?’, you can get an idea of what might be possible.

A registry of data has been collected in the Netherlands, known as the Dutch Scalp Cooling Registry, that has gathered information from over 7000 patients that have scalp cooled. This information has been analyzed and can give an indication of how much hair you can expect to retain based on your chemotherapy drug regimen and dosage.

The average outcome across all the data shows that with scalp cooling a patient has a 50% chance of retaining half of their hair.

The data from the Dutch Registry shows us that there are different outcomes depending on the drug type that a patient receives. 
With taxane drugs a patient could see as much as an 80% chance of retaining half of their hair.
There are some drug types that can be really tough on the hair follicles, such as anthracyclines, with which a patient would have a 40% chance of retaining half of their hair.

Scalp cooling outcomes calculator

We have developed a guide that will give you an indication of the amount of hair retention you could expect, based on the chemotherapy regimen you will be receiving. If you know your dosage you will get a more accurate indication.

The guide uses information from the Dutch Scalp Cooling Registry which has collected information from over 7000 patients who have scalp cooled. It’s the biggest scalp cooling data set in the world. The information is a true representation of scalp cooling with real patients in cancer centers, rather than in a clinical trial setting. Access to so much data means that the calculator can give a reliable indication of what you can expect. It is important to remember that the calculator will only provide an indication of what has been experienced by others - you may see more or less hair retention, but it’s a really good starting point.
Use the Scalp Cooling Outcomes Calculator

There are no guarantees

Unfortunately, scalp cooling isn’t a faultless process and there are no guarantees that scalp cooling will work as well as you want it to. Outcomes have really improved over the last couple of decades, but there is still a way to go until there is almost no hair loss for every single patient, every single time.

The majority of patients who scalp cool believe it was the right choice, even if they don’t see the hair retention they might have hoped for.
There are a couple of things to remember when it comes to making a decision on scalp cooling:
  • If you don’t try, you won’t know. The alternative to scalp cooling is likely to be complete hair loss in the space of a couple of days
  • Scalp cooling has been proven to result in faster hair regrowth, even if a patient sees significant hair loss. This is important to remember for anyone who is receiving a more challenging drug regimen
  • Scalp cooling gives you some level of control, which can be important to some patients as they go through their treatment
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The first 10 or so minutes with the cap on was brutal, it was so cold. But after 10/15 minutes I had gotten used to it and honestly forgot about it

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