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The Holly Private Hospital upgrades scalp cooling system to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy treatment

The Holly Private Hospital has recently upgraded its technology to help reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy treatment.

For many years, the chemotherapy suite has used the Paxman Scalp Cooling System. This is recognised as one of the leading systems to prevent hair loss caused by some chemotherapy drugs. In January 2022, The Holly upgraded its existing scalp cooling system by installing two more machines and investing in the latest ‘PSCS2’ models.

Hilary Hughes, Lead Cancer Nurse at The Holly, says, ‘This investment in the latest technology will make a huge difference to our patients. Previously, we only had one scalp cooling machine and had to schedule patients at different times throughout the day or week. We now have a total of three machines and can offer patients scalp cooling at the most convenient time for them.’

Stu Rowling, Paxman’s Head of UK Sales and Training, has trained three nurses at The Holly on the latest scalp cooling system. He says, ‘When faced with the prospect of chemotherapy, patients have to deal with many physical and psychological effects. Hair loss is a major concern, which for many individuals results in a feeling of losing their identity. Scalp cooling allows patients to take some control of a side effect that would otherwise be inevitable in some treatments.’

The scalp cooling process

Scalp cooling is a possible way to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy for solid tumours (that is, not blood cancers). The treatment lowers the temperature of the skin on the head by a few degrees and reduces blood flow to the scalp. In turn, this reduces the amount of chemotherapy drug that reaches the hair follicles and makes them less likely to fall out.

The Holly Private Hospital now offers the latest machine-based scalp cooling system. Patients sit in a comfortable reclining chair in the chemotherapy suite and a special cap is fitted on their head. A nurse connects this cap to the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, which is a small refrigeration unit. The machine pumps cool liquid through the cap before, during and after the chemotherapy session. Our specialist nurses try to help patients feel as relaxed as possible. Scalp cooling is suitable for men and women, whatever their hairstyle.

Success rate

It is important to have realistic expectations about scalp cooling. According to Paxman who make the scalp cooling technology, patients have a 50% chance of keeping 50% or more of their hair. This is the average success rate and individuals cannot predict how well scalp cooling will work for them until they try it.

Scalp cooling may help to reduce overall hair loss during chemotherapy. Trying this treatment can give patients a sense of control and help them to feel more confident about their body image.

Date: 21/01/2022