How cold cap therapy is helping cancer patients preserve their hair

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(October 8, 2015) -- Cold cap therapy, the controversial treatment some breast cancer patients use to save their hair has a big fan, in Muncie: Dr. Robin Fox, a physician and user of the technique.

Robin is a two time breast cancer survivor.  So when she got the most recent diagnosis this past spring, she researched cold caps to see if she could preserve her hair.

Last April CBS4 was there as Robin’s husband, Lon, and a friend hauled in coolers filled with dry ice and the special caps.  They applied the caps in timed intervals coinciding with her chemotherapy. Her therapy is finished now and the cold caps did their work. Robin’s hair follicles were frozen and preserved. Today she has a full head of hair.

“There wasn’t any hair loss, there would be a few strands here or there but honestly, nothing out of the ordinary. No clumps or anything like that,” said Robin. “It’s still as thick as it was before. It feels healthy and it worked tremendously well for me.”

Cold cap therapy takes a team of non-hospital helpers.  Robin’s husband made sure the caps were kept at 22 degrees below zero.  He made sure they fit snug and Robin was as comfortable as she could be.  He believes it helped with her positive outcome.

“It gave her an edge,” said Lon Fox. “That’s probably the biggest thing. It gave her an edge to fight not just the disease, but the treatment of the disease.”

Many hospitals haven’t embraced cold cap therapy.  Robin believes they should, and make the investment in the special freezers so it’s easier for breast cancer patients and their families.  She did admit cold cap therapy won’t work for everyone, but for stage 1 and 2 breast cancers, it is an option.

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