DigniCap may help cancer patients undergoing chemo keep hair

DigniCap may help cancer patients undergoing chemo keep hairNew York, Dec 22: A new frozen gel-filled cap- called DigniCap-may one day help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy prevent hair loss.

According to Msnbc. com, four patients in the U. S. are trying out the DigniCap-a hat that contains a cooling gel and fits tightly on the head.

During the treatment, the gel chills the hair follicles, thus restricting the amount of chemotherapy that reaches them.

Heather Millar of San Francisco, one of the patients trying out the experimental treatment, managed to retain most of her hair despite the fact that she''s already had three chemotherapy sessions.

"I think that if women knew about this, there would be a total stampede," the New York Daily News quoted Millar, as writing on her blog ''My Left Breast.''

Some women who are anxious that they will lose their hair decide to either skip or delay chemotherapy, or they choose a treatment that is not as effective, said to Hope S. Rugo, of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Care Center.

"It''s torture for the women. Patients will say to me, ''I know this sounds stupid, it seems so much like my vanity, but the thing I''m most worried about is losing my hair,''" said Rugo.

The DigniCap, made by Dignitana in Lund, Sweden, is part of a trial limited to patients whose breast cancer is in the early stages.

Patients wearing the caps, in which the gel is cooled to -30 Celsius, are instructed to change the caps frequently during and after their treatments and sometimes switch caps 15 times during a treatment so that the proper scalp temperature is maintained.

Keeping the scalp cool causes the blood vessels around the hair roots to contract, so that the hair follicles don''t get such a big amount of chemo drugs. (ANI)