Scalp Cooling -- Heard in the Halls: Voices From the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
December 9, 2016

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Breastcancer.org Chief Medical Officer and Founder Marisa Weiss, M.D. offers her take on a new device that may help women keep quite a bit of their hair during chemotherapy.

Running time: 2:11

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Dr. Marisa Weiss: Hi. I’m Dr. Marisa Weiss, chief medical officer of Breastcancer.org. I was particularly encouraged by the new study that came out showing the value of using the caps, the Orbis Paxman Scalp Cooling System, by which women can help save their hair or prevent hair loss during the course of chemotherapy.

It works particularly well during taxane-based chemotherapy, which is Taxol or Taxotere. And I’m encouraged by the value that these tools have for women who are facing chemotherapy, because hair loss is a particularly devastating side effect that’s very public, it can be very embarrassing, it can require a lot of expensive solutions like a fancy wig or a bunch of different caps. It can be an issue. Hair loss is an issue if you have young kids at home who want to have mom look like she looks normal and the loss of hair is disturbing to them. It could be disturbing to a partner.

And by the way, there are plenty of women who can wear no hair in a very gorgeous way — big earrings, etc. — and feel comfortable. But we always want to know that there are effective tools that can help women dealing with breast cancer get the best care possible, and that means the best benefits and the least side effects, and this tool did help women substantially reduce the risk for having a difficult, mean, nasty side effect of treatment, which is hair loss. And so I’m very encouraged by that.

So I would say if you’re listening to this, if you’re looking at getting chemotherapy, ask your doctor what tools do they have, what type of cap-like solution is available that you can learn about to help you avoid hair loss or significantly reduce the amount of hair loss during chemotherapy. You can also look at Breastcancer.org, of course, because there are resources on the expertise side and also in the Community, where women who’ve been through this, done it, can share with you some really helpful tips.

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