Location: Devon, UK
Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: Paclitaxel - Taxol
Hair type: Short
"The nurses were actually quite shocked and impressed by the amount of hair I still had at the end of my treatment and, needless to say, I was thrilled with the result."
I am a 53 year old from Plymouth in Devon. After attending my mammogram on 13th February 2020, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was right grade 2 IDC T1c (15mm) N0 (0/2) ER8 HER2 positive. The hospital at which I was treated was Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and I cannot praise each and every single member of staff enough. The chemotherapy which I received was paclitaxel and I also had to have herceptin injections every 3 weeks which are still ongoing.
I was advised about the cold cap by my oncologist prior to my treatment beginning and when I attended for my first treatment, my intention was to use the cold cap and see what happened – if I still lost a lot of hair, I would just not use it any longer and would shave my hair off. Fortunately, I did not need to do this as the cold cap worked fantastically well for me. Although it is very cold (which it is obviously meant to be!), it was certainly not unbearable and once my head was used to it, I didn’t even notice it was there. Because of COVID I also had to wear a mask, so it was mask on, cold cap on, glasses on and read my book. It was absolutely fine and time passed really quickly. After 3 or 4 chemo sessions, I realised my hair was still doing really well, with no thinning or patches anywhere so I continued with the cold cap and did so for the whole 18 weeks. The nurses were actually quite shocked and impressed by the amount of hair I still had at the end of my treatment and, needless to say, I was thrilled with the result.
My biggest tips would be to stick with the cold cap – it is only uncomfortable for a short time once you first put it on, don’t dry or straighten your hair – just wash it and let it dry naturally. I also did not wash my hair every day – I did this every few days. I cannot express how happy I am with my scalp cooling experience.
I cannot thank anyone individual at the hospital, but the whole team, from my consultant, the Primrose Unit, my oncologist, the chemo nurses, radiotherapy team, my herceptin injection nurses and admin staff could not have been more wonderful, so each and every person from the oncology department deserves a big thank you.
"My family and friends also helped me through, with my children and granddaughter visiting regularly in the garden so that I could talk to them through the window, as it was such a difficult time with COVID also happening. These visits were really special and kept me going, along with phone calls from friends. And my partner took me to every single appointment, even though he could not actually come in to be with me, so such a big thank you to all of them too."