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Breast cancer survivor's recovery eased with cold cap that helps prevent hair loss

Posted at 10:39 PM, Oct 30, 2018

BOULDER, Colorado — More than 200,000 women and 2,000 men will undergo treatment for breast cancer this year. A survivor has shared her story of technology that made her recovery a little easier.

It’s been one long year for Brenda, fighting to survive breast cancer. After an abnormal mammogram, doctors found a lump so deep she couldn’t feel it herself.

"I was afraid, and I was sad,” said Brenda. "My husband said we are not just going to get through it we are going to thrive through it."

She would need to start chemotherapy right away, and one of her big fears was losing her hair.

"I wanted to go out in public and not have people wonder if I’m in the middle of a health battle. Not because it’s something to be ashamed of or afraid of because that wasn't the case," said Brenda.

But then doctors told her about cold cap therapy,  Recently approved by the FDA, it can prevent hair loss.

Dr. Jenny Fox has treated many breast cancer patients at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.

"Basically by chilling the scalp, cooling it down, it causes constriction of the blood vessels, and so less chemotherapy gets to those hair follicles, less damage happens to them."

It’s also a way to give patients some sense of control during the chemotherapy process. It’s a two-layer cap made of a gel coolant and covered with a neoprene helmet that’s strapped to a patient’s head and connected to refrigeration machine.

"Your head is freezing. It’s like having an ice cream headache without having the ice cream," said Brenda.

It worked for Brenda. She had her last chemo dose treatment six months ago.

"There is a little patch right here where you can see some of the hair coming in. But had I lost all my hair, I would only have a couple of inches right now," said Brenda.

Now with most of her hair, Brenda is feeling great to be cancer free.

"Oh, it is a celebration. It feels awesome," said Brenda.