'Cold Cap' helps local cancer patients keep hair

5:54 PM, Sep 18, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Hair loss is one of the side effects of chemotherapy, but more cancer patients are trying a new treatment that keeps their hair.

It's called cold cap therapy and it's worked wonders for some of its patients.

"For me, my motivating factor was my kids," said Sunday Berquest.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago and said it's one thing to be sick but quite another to look it. Her children lost both of their grandfathers to cancer and the kids grew up with the impression that people die from it, not survive. So when she heard about the success of cold cap therapy, she gave it a try.

"It feels like massive brain freeze and it just kind of hurt," described Berquest. "Have you ever touched something so cold that it hurts your hands, it's kind of like that."

The cold caps are ice-like and stored in the freezer.
She wears them for hours before and after her chemotherapy.
Now in her eighth and final session of chemotherapy, she still has her hair.

"The premise of this, is trying to use temperature to decrease blood flow to the scalp." " said Minnesota Oncology's Dr. Paul Zander.

The cold cap essentially freezes the hair follicles so that the chemotherapy drugs do not affect them.

"And I feel like if more women knew, hey if you're willing to put up with this, it's encouraging," said Berquest.

Currently the cold caps are not covered by insurance. Berquest said she paid about $2,800 for her four months of therapy. Doctors said it may not work for everybody, it all depends on the types of drugs cancer treatments use.



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