Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: EC-T
Hair type: Mid-Length Thick
"I don’t mind looking at myself in the mirror, I don’t mind meeting other people and I have protected my hair follicles so that my hair will hopefully be growing back as I speak."
I was 46 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I noticed a lump in my left breast at the end of February and made an appointment with my GP and was referred. I had my official diagnosis a week later and it was a Grade 3, Stage 1 DCIS and Invasive breast cancer. It was ER +ve and HER2 -ve.
I had already heard about scalp cooling via friends and mentioned that I would like to give it a go. It may be a vanity thing, but I didn’t want “to look ill”. I was sent a pack by the chemo nurses prior to my pre-assessment and it contained information about Paxman. I found the information on the website incredibly helpful especially the videos such as advice on hair washing etc. I also found the Paxman Facebook group which has been very useful. I was due to have 3 cycles of EC (Epirubicin & cyclophosphamide) and 3 cycles of Docetaxel. 3 weeks between each treatment.
Due to Covid we were all wearing face masks so we worked out the best order of putting everything on – glasses, cold cap then facemask seemed to work best. I was ready for the first ten to fifth-teen minutes to be painful however I would describe it as uncomfortable, like going for a walk on the beach in January on a windy day without a hat. I found that having something to distract me was helpful, reading a book or talking to the nurses etc.
I had thick, shoulder length, dyed blonde hair before I started chemo and although I have lost quite a lot of hair about 30% left, it now just looks as though I have thin hair. I was very happy with my scalp cooling experience and would definitely recommend using the cold cap, it added between 1 -2 hours to my chemo sessions – but what would I have been doing otherwise! A couple of hours every 3 weeks was well worth it – I don’t mind looking at myself in the mirror, I don’t mind meeting other people and I have protected my hair follicles so that my hair will hopefully be growing back as I speak.
"I would really like to thank the chemo nurses – they were already doing a superb job having to move the unit from the hospital to the bus and all the other challenges that Covid was throwing at them. My requesting to use scalp cooling was just seen as another part of my treatment and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Due to Covid I wasn’t allowed any friends or family to sit with me during treatment so their friendliness and support was invaluable to what could have been a very scary and upsetting process."