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Amy.

Location: New Zealand
Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: Taxotere and Cyclophosphamide
Hair type: Long, thin & curly

"My hair thinned all over, but no patches or bald spots, apart from around and in front of my ears. I actually kept my cancer treatment a ‘secret’ in my office of 100+ staff until I completed chemo, and owe this feat to the success of Paxman for sure!"

My treatment began in January 2021 until May 2021. I was informed by my breast surgeon about scalp cooling on the day I was told I would be needing chemotherapy. He had prior patients who had great results with the system and recommended it was worth a try.

It wasn’t as uncomfortable as I expected. I had been warned that I “may not be able to tolerate” the extreme coldness of the cap for the length of time required. It was quite a chilly ‘brain-freeze’ for the first 10-15 minutes and then subsided as my head froze and I grew accustomed to it. I was adamant to get the best fit of the cap, which required both a nurse and my dad to tug it on tight!

I lost the most hair between rounds 2 and 3. I expected the rate of hair loss to increase as the cycles progressed, and although it continued to thin, it was consistent but not dramatic.

During treatment

4 months PFC

Some things that may have contributed to my success:

  • Wearing my hair in a braid and only gently finger combing once a day
  • Washing 3 days after chemo; once every 3 weeks (gross, I know .. but my hair adapted quickly and never looked oily. With every wash, I lost handfuls of hair and it was very traumatic, so I went as long as possible in-between washes).
  • Washing upside down by dunking in a bucket of water, using paraben-free baby shampoo and rinsing gently by scooping & pouring water with a cup (pressure of shower head was too much) & allowing it to dry naturally
  • Sleeping on a silk pillowcase
  • Using silk scrunchies rather than hair ties
  • Ensuring a VERY tight connection with the cooling cap, using an exercise band & post-cooling for up to 2 hours

 

Did you experience thinning or patchy hair loss?

My hair thinned all over, but no patches or bald spots, apart from around and in front of my ears. Regrowth came in very fast after my last treatment (however my lashes and brows fell out at this time also). I had a haircut about 5 weeks after my last treatment and was still shedding at this time.

 

Did you ever feel the need to wear a wig, hat or head covering during or after treatment? 

No, I didn’t need to wear anything! I actually kept my cancer treatment a ‘secret’ in my office of 100+ staff until I completed chemo, and owe this feat to the success of Paxman for sure!

 

Do you have any hints/tips for during and post-treatment for the care of your hair?

  • Still using the silk pillowcase and scrunchies, washing twice a week with Hot Tresses Rehab shampoo & conditioner, combing with wide tooth comb
  • Adding peppermint oil drops to shampoo
  • Taking fish oil, biotin, collagen and protein powder supplements (check this with your oncologist, of course)
  • 2-3 brazil nuts a day, plus LSA, chia seeds, pumpkin & sunflower seeds
  • Lots of spinach!! (I had a Zinc test and the pharmacist was so surprised at my good zinc levels so soon after chemo .. I eat spinach 3 times a day!)

 

How happy were you with your scalp cooling experience?

Extremely grateful! Admittedly, I was quite petrified the whole time, as my hair continued to shed and I had no idea how long it would ‘hold on’ as handfuls and handfuls would come out. It took about 2 months post-chemo for the thinning to completely stop.

 

"I would like to thank my dad for coming to every single chemotherapy treatment with me and being the ‘master’ of the cooling cap! A retired engineer, he ensured that the cap was fitted with excellent contact every time, which I believe contributed to the success. He was even jokingly offered a job at the cancer clinic as the ‘official cooling cap fitter!"

 
 

Would you like further info?