When talking about the benefits of scalp cooling, understandably, hair retention has always been the primary concern for both clinicians and patients. However increasingly, this motivation has begun to shift; scalp cooling is beginning to be valued by patients for its ability to promote faster, healthier and stronger hair regrowth.
Patients are citing the increased regrowth rates as a key motivator when it comes to scalp cooling. This is particularly relevant for those facing regimens that often result in less hair retention, such as anthracyclines.
Regrowth should also be noted by clinicians, as often, significant and patchy hair loss is used as a reason to discourage patients away from scalp cooling. Instead the continuation of cooling should be encouraged. Having committed to scalp cooling, continuing to cool will provide patients’ the benefit of retaining any hair that has been saved and encouraging regrowth - where the alternative would be complete hair loss. Depending on the regimen, it is not unusual to see hair regrowth happening before the end of chemotherapy treatment.
There is a multitude of clinical data to support this regrowth, most notably in: ‘Efficacy of Scalp Cooling in Preventing and Recovering from chemotherapy-induced alopecia in Breast Cancer patients: The HOPE Study’ – Kinoshita et al, 2019. This study compared the hair regrowth of patients who had scalp cooled vs those in the control group who hadn’t, measuring regrowth up to 12 weeks after the end of chemotherapy. The comparison is stark (see photos from the trial).
Please consider the importance that regrowth can have for your patients. Encourage your patients to continue scalp cooling, and tell them about regrowth as well as hair retention.