Hair loss during cancer treatment is of particular concern to women.

Hair loss can have great impact both on a social level (what people might say) and personal level (preserving privacy). Avoiding this can help most people to tolerate the situation with greater optimism and positivity.

What is DigniCap?

Dignicap is a scalp cooling system aimed at preventing chemotherapy from reaching the hair follicles and causing hair loss. The system uses a cap worn before, during, and after treatment.

How is scalp cooling achieved and why.

Chemotherapy affects healthy cells that divide rapidly, in this case, the hair follicles, the reason why hair loss is the most common side effect.

It has been shown that by keeping the scalp at a temperature of approximately 4° during the administration of anticancer drugs, the cells of the hair follicles stop multiplying, preventing their effect on the hair.

The Dignicap System at HC Marbella, the cooling process is divided into three phases:

• Pre-cooling: Time required to reach the optimum temperature (30 minutes to reach 4° C).

• Cooling: Time in which chemotherapy is given.

• Post-cooling: After treatment, the cap is kept connected to maintain the same temperature, depending the on treatment’s characteristics.

How is it done?

Patients, in individual cubicles with climate controls, are provided with warm clothing and warm drinks if case they feel cold. Constant specialist supervision is provided at all times.

Who can benefit from this system?

Any patient undergoing chemotherapy who has not been diagnosed with a haematological disease or melanoma. It is also contraindicated for patients with an allergy or hypersensitivity to cold and/or post-traumatic cold dystrophy.

Does the treatment need to be completed at home?

The effectiveness of the procedure will also depend on how the patient looks after their hair in their daily life while receiving the treatment.

• Chemotherapy causes hair fragility, friction and stress on the roots should be avoided.

• Hair driers should not be used for 24 hrs after treatment.

• Letting hair dry naturally is recommended.

• The use of neutral pH shampoo and capillary mask hydration prevents dryness of the scalp.

• Avoid tangling long and/or curly hair, wash gently scalp to tips.

• Permanent dyes and tints are not advised.

How effective is the treatment with DigniCap?

Cooling of the scalp cannot completely prevent hair loss. In fact, between the first and second treatments a slight loss may be experienced. This does not indicate a failure of the treatment. Hair loss is usually reduced as cooling treatment is continued in subsequent chemotherapy cycles, some patients even experience hair regrowth.

Are there any side effects?

During the cooling process, the patient may experience:

• Headache

• Feeling cold

• Chills

Can patients from other hospitals contract this service from HC?

Yes, bearing in mind that it is a treatment that is applied jointly with an anticancer treatment, the patient can therefore have their treatment in our hospital.

Author: Seb

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