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Avril.

Location: Dubai, UAE
Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: Taxol
Hair type: Curly, thick

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-April, less than a year after moving to Dubai from Toronto for work. I had surgery at the end of April which was interesting given the pandemic protocols in place in the hospitals here. Three months of grueling chemotherapy followed during which the Paxman cooling cap became a lifeline. The retention of about 70% of my hair is a symbol of defiance in the face of cancer and COVID"

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-April, less than a year after moving to Dubai from Toronto for work.  I had surgery at the end of April which was interesting given the pandemic protocols in place in the hospitals here. Three months of grueling chemotherapy followed during which the Paxman cooling cap became a lifeline. The retention of about 70% of my hair is a symbol of defiance in the face of cancer and COVID.

I was very concerned about losing my hair as a result of chemotherapy treatment.  My primary oncologist  informed me prior to the start of chemotherapy  treatment that it was possible to retain at least some of my hair using scalp cooling and I was eager to try it.

I found that wearing a sweater or a fleece to raise my body temperature while wearing the scalp cooling cap during treatment was helpful. I also found that applying conditioner to the hair prior to wetting the hair and putting the scalp cooling cap on was also helpful in terms of mitigating the risk of chemotherapy-induced alopecia.

I did experience some thinning and hair loss around the hairline and sides of the hair. I am happy to report that in the three months since I completed chemotherapy, that thinning and hair loss has been reversed.

It is important to pay extra attention to your hair during chemotherapy. My Afro hair is quite fragile so  I saw my hairdresser for conditioning treatments at least once every 10 days during the period I was receiving chemotherapy to minimize breakage. I also applied a leave-in conditioner prior to wearing the scalp cooling cap during the weekly chemotherapy cycle.

 

"The entire multidisciplinary breast cancer treatment team at Mediclinic City Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dubai were wonderful. My breast surgeon, Dr. Annett Al Hamadi, my primary oncologist, Dr. Shaheenah Dawood and my radiotherapy oncologist, Dr. Patrizia Porcu are incredibly competent and empathetic. I will however be eternally grateful to my breast nurse, Nurse Elsbeth Bentley, who sat with me through every chemotherapy session, responded to my many, many questions about the chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, including questions about scalp cooling and hair loss, at all hours of the day and night and was simply a star. What would we do without breast care nurses? They are a unique blend of compassion and empathy, competence and all-round superhuman skills. Nurse Bentley really is one of the best."

 
 

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