Shall I continue with scalp cooling?
You are not alone if at some point during scalp cooling you might think about whether or not to continue with the process. Below we have written some tips so that you can be well informed as sometimes people give up when they have been misinformed. The most important thing to know is that unless there is a medical reason (which is rare) that you are advised to stop scalp cooling, the choice should be yours. If you are having some issues and need some help we are here to offer ideas.
Equally, if deciding that scalp cooling is not for you there are plenty of ways to create a new look. Most importantly you have not failed if stopping scalp cooling is something you decide to do. We are here to support you with lots of ideas whether scalp cooling is something you decide to stop or continue with.
Whatever your decision we are here to ensure that you don’t need to give up on look good during cancer treatment.
Why do people consider stopping scalp cooling treatment?
There are several common reasons why people might be thinking whether or not to continue with scalp cooling. But equally, there are often solutions to any issues you may be experiencing.
Measuring the success of scalp cooling is an individual experience.
“One person’s idea of successful scalp cooling can be another person’s unsuccessful view. In other words an individual’s experience is unique to them. Some people lose hair but consider scalp cooling successful as they adjust their style or wear a hat over any thinning area. For others, the same amount of hair thinning may result in them stopping scalp cooling and wearing wigs or other head coverings. In all the years I have supported people I always say until you try it you simply won’t know how successful it will be for you”. Jasmin Julia Gupta – UK’s leading cancer hair care specialist.
Below are some concerns that we have come across and some solutions where possible.
Worrying about their scalp if hair thinning or bald areas appear
It is very important to know that if bald patches appear or if you are worried about exposing your scalp to the cold cap, that a simple solution is available.
Ask for a surgical cap or gauze to be placed over any exposed areas, as bare skin should not come in contact with the cold cap. Therefore a surgical cap or gauze might be used to protect the scalp. Examples of this are: if a lot of hair has thinned, or for a man who has male pattern baldness and is wearing a cold cap to protect the areas where hair does grow.
Unfortunately we often hear reports from people who have been told by an informed member of their medical team that they should stop scalp cooling as they may damage their scalp. It is essential to get the most appropriate guidance from the scalp cooling manufacturer. As in the majority of cases a simple solution of a surgical cap or gauze is adequate and will protect the scalp.
Hair is falling out – will it all fall out? Is it worth continuing?
It is often to be expected that more hair then usual is likely to fall out during scalp cooling. However, when this occurs it can be messy, frustrating and frightening. Whilst no one can predict how much hair will fall out or remain you can make some adjustments to your style and ways of thinking.
Here are some ideas:
Can you make the most out of the hair that is remaining? For example, the average person has around 120,000 individual hairs on their scalp. If 30% falls out, that is 36,000 hairs to fall out. A lots of mess and could very easily leave you thinking that all of your hair may be falling out. However, if 84,000 individual hairs remain, that is a lot to work with.
Wearing wide headbands, hats and accessories can be helpful. Try adjusting your style and take a look at our section Thinning hair & troubleshooting – scalp cooling.
Can you ease discomfort and time factors - For some people the additional time needed for scalp cooling or discomfort makes them consider stopping.
One of the number one items that aids in comfort is wearing a fabric hair band on the forehead. Many people have told us that this really makes the difference in terms of comfort – especially in the first 20 minutes of treatment.
Take a look in our section Comfort and wellbeing during scalp cooling for some ideas.
Can you feel better about worrying if hair thinning or bald areas appear?
It’s only natural to feel concerned if hair is thinning. Wearing at hat, wide fabric hair band, using clips or adjusting your style can all be helpful. Take a look in our section Thinning hair & trouble shooting - scalp cooling for ideas.
I’ve decided I want to stop scalp cooling – what’s next
To minimise hair loss you need to wear a cold cap for each and every scalp cooling treatment. When you stop you can expect your hair to fall out. You may like to cut your hair off, wear wigs and find out about other options.
Take a look in our Chemotherapy guide for ideas.
Next planned review: February 2020