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Nov 28, 2012 10:39PM
Nov 28, 2012 10:55PM
skimommi - I just used them this summer and they were absolutely worthwhile. I highly recommend them. I had four treatments of Taxotere Cytoxan three weeks apart and I kept most of my hair even though I shed a lot. Being able to keep my hair has made dealing with breast cancer, chemo and radiation so much easier. When I see myself in a mirror I see myself, not some sick bald version of me. As a result, I have never felt the need to cry or gotten depressed. Believe me, that's powerful medicine.
From everything I have read on here, and heard at my breast center in NYC which has had upward of forty women use them, T/C users have very good success keeping their hair if they use Cold Caps and follow the protocol strictly. From what I have heard, ACT users may not be as successful, but there have been women on here who have used them with ACT and been able to keep their hair.
I was fortunate to be able to hire an experienced helper recommended by my breast center and she made the process easy for me as she did everything and knew what needed to be done. Others have had their husbands, friends or relatives help them and it seemed to work well. My husband just didn't want to do it. He prefered an expert handle it instead.
A few women have arranged to help each other, first one goes through chemo then the other, which I think is lovely. Some very organized people practice ahead of time so that they and their helpers know what needs to be done and so they can learn how to fit and change the caps efficiently to be sure the timing works smoothly.
Cold Cap therapy requires gathering the right equiptment (Penguin gives an exact list once the rental is arranged) and finding someone or two people willing to do the job carefully each treatment day. They must follow the timing and temerature protocol exactly in order for it to be successful. Basically the patient's scalp gets cooled for 50 minutes before the chemo is started, and continues to be cooled all through whatever chemos may be given, and for four hours afterwards. It's a full day's work. But, it is so very worth it for the patient if she can keep her hair!
The caps are extremely cold and not fun to wear, but those of us who have used them were willing to put up with the discomfort on the days of our treatments in order to keep our hair. We dressed warmly in zillions of layers and used an electric blanket to wrap up into to keep ourselves warm. Some of us also iced our finger nails and toes nails during the Taxotere infusion to protect them from damage - something I also highly recommend.
Cold Cap user - kept my hair
1/24/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
2/29/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
5/8/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
10/16/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)