Scalp Cooling Caps
UW Health Services
One of the difficult side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. Cooling caps, also called scalp hypothermia, are silicone caps cooled to very low temperatures that you wear before, during and after a chemotherapy treatment to help reduce or prevent this hair loss. Cooling cap systems are FDA approved in women with breast cancer.
The Paxman Scalp Cooling system is available at the UW Carbone Cancer Clinics at University Hospital and 1 South Park Street. You would need to be treated at one of these locations in order to receive this service.
NOTE: If you're not already a UW Health patient, or wish to be treated at one of these locations, please call (608) 266-6400 or request a second opinion.
UW Health is working with Paxman Scalp Cooling to make this system available to patients in our chemotherapy infusion clinics. Patients wishing to use the system should review scalp cooling information at www.paxmanusa.com. Patients will need to request that UW Health send a prescription for scalp cooling to Paxman. Patients will then sign up directly with Paxman online and will remit payment to Paxman.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use a cooling cap?
Cooling caps can be used in cancer patients who have solid tumor cancers who are being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs. They are most effective when used in patients receiving taxane chemotherapy, but success does vary. Cooling caps cannot be used in patients afflicted with hematological malignancies (leukemia), or patients who cannot tolerate extremely cold temperatures. Each individual patient should discuss his or her circumstance with an oncologist to understand if scalp cooling is an option.
How does a cooling cap work?
Hair cells are the second fastest dividing cells in the body. This is why drugs used during chemotherapy, which targets quickly dividing cells like cancer, target your hair cells and cause hair loss around two weeks into your treatment. Cooling caps, however, reduce the blood flow to your hair follicles which limits or prevents hair loss.
How do you use a cooling cap?
You will wear the cooling cap before, during, and for a period after receiving chemotherapy treatment. The caps come in different sizes to accommodate different patients. Cooling caps are attached to an automated machine that circulates cooling fluid through the cap continuously.
How do I elect to have scalp cooling with my chemotherapy infusions?
Talk with your UW Health oncologist. Your oncologist will write a prescription for you for scalp cooling. That prescription will be sent to Paxman Scalp Cooling. Staff at your oncologist's office will work with you to schedule scalp cooling equipment for use with your chemotherapy infusions. Then visit the Paxman Hub online to learn more about the process and to sign up with Paxman and remit payment. Details about the process and the cost are available on the Paxman Hub.
Patient Story: Amber's Story
There’s something to be said for looking better than you feel. Just ask Amber Pena, who was 32 while she was being treated for breast cancer. She was working a full time job in a busy office, running her own business and being mom to an active 11-year-old boy. So it helped that she was able to use cooling caps while going through chemotherapy, which allowed her to keep the majority of her thick, long, black hair.