Temporary hair loss is a telling sign of chemotherapy as the powerful cancer-fighting drug attacks not only the disease but also growth cells in the patient’s hair causing it to fall out.
A new technology available at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, however, can help some cancer patients get the care they need to wipe out the cancer without affecting their mane in the process. The DigniCap Delta, also called chemo cap, is an innovative scalp cooling system approved by the Food and Drug Administration to minimize hair loss in patients receiving chemotherapy for solid tumors.
Hartford HealthCare recently contracted with Dignitana AB to provide the DigniCap Delta at up to seven of its Cancer Institute locations in communities across Connecticut. It is available first at the Cancer Institute at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Fairfield County.
“Hartford HealthCare is a recognized leader in clinical excellence and healthcare innovation,” said William Cronin, chief executive officer of Dignitana AB. “We are honored to welcome them to the growing list of providers selecting DigniCap so patients can maintain privacy, identity and control during cancer treatment.”
The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System includes a cap worn by the patient and attached to a computerized cooling unit managed through a touch screen monitor. Temperature-regulated coolant circulates through special channels built into the cooling cap, which maintains direct contact with the patient’s scalp throughout the course of each treatment.
The application of cool temperatures to the scalp decreases activity in the hair follicles, making them less susceptible to the rigors of chemotherapy, a treatment that attacks rapidly-dividing cells. In the end, the cooling reduces the harsh effect of chemotherapy on the follicle cells and prevents, or reduces, the patient’s hair loss.
“The cancer journey is arduous and life-altering, so we are always looking for ways we can help reduce the impact the disease and its treatment has on our patients. Hair loss is more than just cosmetic – it is a profound reminder of the dangers of cancer,” said Dr. Richard Zelkowitz, regional director of the Hartford HealthCare Breast Program at St. Vincent’s. “Scalp-cooling treatments are an easy way to help keep patients’ lives as normal as possible.”
The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System is available at more than 160 locations in 30 states in the U.S. and in 38 markets worldwide.
The scalp-cooling treatments will be available at all Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute locations in 2021.