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Continued: HEALTHBEAT: Cold caps tested to prevent a much-despised side effect of chemotherapy, hair loss

  • Article by: LAURAN NEERGAARD , AP Medical Writer
  • Last update: July 22, 2013 - 1:25 PM

What's the evidence behind scalp cooling? A recent review by oncologists in the Netherlands found numerous overseas studies conclude scalp cooling can work — but it's far from clear which patients are most likely to benefit, even how cold the scalp should be. That's because most of the research so far has been from observational studies that can't provide proof. But it seems harder to save hair with higher doses and certain types of chemo.

Researchers at New York's Weill Cornell Breast Center reported at a recent meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology that among just over a dozen Penguin cap users tracked so far, one lost enough hair to use a wig.

As for safety, UCSF's Rugo said a recurring tumor in the scalp is incredibly rare.

Hair-preserving approaches need good testing, adds Dr. Laura Esserman, a UCSF breast cancer specialist.

"If it matters to our patients, it should matter to us," she said. "It's really not more complicated than that."

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