SAN ANTONIO — The top cancer experts in the country gathered at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Downtown for the annual Breast Cancer Symposium.
One of the coolest new treatments to come out of it this year — a special cap designed to help chemotherapy patients keep their hair.
“So the way this works is the machine circulates coolant through these tubes, explained Dr. Hope Srugo.
It’s called the Dignicap. It’s a device that was just approved by the FDA this week. There are two parts — the inner cap and insulating cap. Liquid that reaches near freezing temperatures runs through little tubes inside the inner cap.
“It’s a liquid that’s a coolant that doesn’t freeze like you have in your car, Dr. Srugo told us.
And the insulating cap holds it tightly on your head to make sure it stays cold. Experts say it’s the super cold temps that help keep most of the hair from falling out.
“It causes the blood vessels to constrict a little bit, so you deliver less chemotherapy to the hair cells,” said Dr. Srugo.
And she says it slows down the hair’s metabolism.
“The cells don’t divide as much,” Dr. Srugo said. “So they’re less susceptible to injury from the chemotherapy.”
“You do not wear the caps when you are home,” said Dr. Paula Klein. “You only wear them on the four days of treatment.”
Dr. Klein is a breast cancer medical oncologist in New York City. Patients at her clinic participated in the clinical trials. She says the majority of them were able to keep most of their hair after treatment and didn’t even need a wig. For many women battling breast cancer, that not only gives them confidence, it gives them hope.
“In an effort to maintain as much dignity and privacy and normalcy in your life, whether you’re early stage or late stage, I think preserving hair is key to that,” Dr. Klein told us.
We’re told at least one San Antonio hospital has expressed interest in the Dignicap. So, it could be coming really soon.