Is it safe to use cold cap when lymph nodes were affected, another worry?

Hi lovely ladies,
I’m due to start chemo 3 x erubicin and Docetaxel then 3 x Taxotere (I’ve probably spelt these wrong as it’s from memory)! I had a 23mm tumor and 10 out of 30 lymph nodes affected her2 negative! I’m wanting to keep my long hair desperately but I’m also scared that if I use the cold cap I might not be zapping all the nasty cells that might be floating around my head! Has anyone used the cap with similar diagnosis to mine or were you told it is risky of a recurrence? My oncologist never mentioned risks it’s just what I’ve heard so it’s just another worry in this never ending nitemare! Thanks as always Deb x

Hi Deb, every oncologist gives different advice. Some don’t like their patients to use the cold cap whilst others actively promote it. I guess you have to do your research and decide what you feel comfortable with.

My hair was (and still is!) just below shoulder level. In September 2014 I was diagnosed with an 8cm and a 2cm tumours plus 26 out of 27 lymph nodes positive.

My oncologist and surgeon were both happy for me to cold cap through 3xFEC and 11 x weekly paclitaxol or taxol (docetaxel is known as taxotere.

I was not told of any risks, but like you I have read other people’s accounts.

I was very successful with the cold cap and wholeheartedly recommend using it if your hair is important to you. I did lose some hair, fortunately very evenly across my head (no bald patches). I did have my hair cut into a short bob to help thicken it up. By the end of chemo I had a good inch or 2 of new hair growth giving me some nice natural layers.

Sorry, this probably hasn’t answered your question! Hopefully someone else will come along with a more informed answer.

I would suggest that you arm yourself with lots of questions for you next meeting with your oncologist.

I hope you find the answers that you are looking for.

Good luck xx

Thankyou so much for your reply, and you really have no idea how much your journey with this dreaded disease has made me feel a bit more positive! As I’ve also had a tumour and 10 lymph nodes affected I keep finding myself in a very low place feeling of hopelessness! It’s comforting to know that you have been successful with the cold cap and secondly that you have also had nodes affected and have managed to kick cancer into touch! At the moment I have tense muscle pain in my back and keep thinking the worst even though my ct scan showed clear a month ago, my husband keeps saying it’s anxiety etc, it is a worry but thankyou on both counts it’s made me feel that there is life at the end of this miserable tunnel! Deb xx

Annie, thanks so much, I think I need to stop going on Google as when I did and saw lymph node involvement it sought of read like I was doomed and I panicked! Well you lovely ladies have shown that in reality this is not the case at all and i have a good fighting chance of this monster being kicked to the kerb! Deb x

Mai7, thanks so much for taking the time to reply and it has helped a great deal, it does help to know people with a diagnosis similar to mine are over the treatment and can again live life to the full again! It really is a tough decision as I’m scared of losing my hair but even more scared of not zapping all of the little nasties! I will have a look at at their wigs as I haven’t found one yet that suits me they seem to be too much hair for my long fine straight hair with too much body that just doesn’t look right, so thanks for that! I can say that I’m glad to have got rid of Mr Lumpy along with his friends in my lymph nodes although my armpit pain is causing me some jip with swelling but definately worth getting the lumpy time bomb out! Thanks again Deb xx

Hi Deb, I had a lump just under 5cm and 3 positive lymph nodes. I had EC-T chemo and cold capped. It was important to my children that I continued to look like me, so I gave it a go. I asked my oncologist directly about the risk of cells not being zapped on my scalp because of the cold cap - was it safe? She said they wouldn’t be allowed to let us use it if it wasn’t and there is no proof against it. I had my long hair cut into a Bob before starting and although i lost 50+% of my hair, I was able to cover the bald patches with Alice bands etc, and was so successful at disguising them, people I saw everyday never knew I had cancer and was having chemotherapy.

Deb, 12 months ago I was in your position - about to start chemo. Although I am a very different person to the one I was 12 months ago, I’ve already forgotten alot of the chemo experience. At the moment, you probably think the end of treatment will never come, but it will and you will be OK again. Definitely join the monthly thread for chemo - the ladies on mine were a lifesaver to me!