Paxman Scalp Cooling System
What is Paxman Scalp Cooling Therapy?
Scalp cooling is a simple treatment that can lower the temperature of the scalp to 18-20oC. The scalp cooling machine (shown in the picture below) circulates a cold gel around a tight-fitting cap that is worn during each chemotherapy treatment. The cold gel makes the blood vessels of the scalp smaller so that less blood flows through them. As a result, less hair is exposed to the chemotherapy drug. But it is not always possible to know how well it will work until you try it.
Scalp cooling is not suitable if:
- You have a blood (haematological) cancer, such as myeloma, leukaemia or lymphoma. This is because there is a risk of cancer cells surviving in the blood vessels of the scalp. This means that the cancer may come back.
- You have already had your first course of chemotherapy without scalp cooling.
- You need very high doses of chemotherapy. Scalp cooling is less likely to work with high-dose chemotherapy.
- You are having continuous chemotherapy through a pump for several days.
- Your liver is not working as well as it should be. The chemotherapy drugs may stay in the body for longer than usual. It may not be possible to keep the scalp cold for long enough.
- You have severe migraines.
How long does it take?
It would take 30 minutes before our chemotherapy infusion (45 minutes for thicker hair volume), during infusion (timing depending on your treatment) and for up to 90 minutes after drug infusion. After that, the cooling cap will remain on your head for about 5-10 minutes to acclimatize before you leave the hospital.
How effective is scalp cooling?
The scalp cooling results can vary from patient to patient depending on the type of chemotherapy being used and the hair type of the patient. Effectiveness depends on several variable factors including the chemotherapy regimen, dose, duration, drug metabolism and concomitant comorbidities. The therapy is considered effective as long as you do not require the use of a hair wig / head cover throughout your chemotherapy treatment or grade 1 hair loss (hair loss of up to 50%, no wig required).
Are there any side effects?
The scalp cooling treatment could have risks or side effects that you may experience. The most common side effects reported with scalp cooling are:
- headache ranging from mild to severe (during and following scalp cooling)
- uncomfortable sensations
- a heavy feeling on the head
- light-headedness (during scalp cooling and/ or following removal of the cooling cap at the end of scalp cooling)
- complaints of coldness -cold-related discomfort (during scalp cooling)
- Forehead pain (during scalp cooling) resulting from pressure and tightness from the cap.
- cold injuries (like frost-bite or cold urticaria (itchy hives or rash at the site of the cold cap)
- sinus pain
- dry skin
- scalp pain