Tata Memorial Hospital to use technology to reduce hair fall in chemo patients

Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Parel will soon offer a technology to patients to reduce hair fall during treatment, a common yet distressing side effect of chemotherapy. Known as scalp cooling, it reduces the amount of chemotherapy medication reaching the scalp, thus reducing hair fall.

A team of doctors conducted a trial and have published the results in a scientific journal in December. According to Dr. Jyoti Bajpai, associate professor, Department of Medical Oncology, which headed the trial, the hospital is in the process of developing a procedure so the technique can be offered to patients at a nominal charge. He said, “We plan to offer it to all patients. It will be at a little additional cost. But right now, we may start it for young women who are taking cancer treatment.”

The hospital has a scalp cooling machine attached with two scalp coolers or specialised inner silicon caps containing coolants. The machine circulates the coolant in the caps, reducing its temperature up to -4 degrees Celsius. This helps in reduced blood supply to the scalp. Since chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through the blood, the scalp gets less blood and thus little medication as well. The most common side effect of scalp cooling is headache and cold. Those opting for the technique will have to spend more time at TMH.

The study said, “Day care beds are limited and with a large volume of patients, it will be logistically difficult to provide scalp cooling to all female patients who are on chemotherapy. The treatment time will also be considerably longer, consisting of precooling for 30 minutes, followed by administration of chemotherapy and 90 minutes post chemotherapy cooling period.”

A longer time period, it said, would result in fewer patients being administered treatment in a day, and could lead to delays in starting treatment in subsequent patients. The study concluded that women with non-metastatic breast cancer receiving chemotherapy with taxane, anthracycline, or both, who underwent scalp cooling were significantly more likely to have less than 50% hair loss after the fourth chemotherapy cycle. The study also said more as well as larger long-term studies are needed in patients with advanced breast cancer to comment on safety in these patients.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 12:37:57 AM |

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