I have just finished chemo, x4 cycles TC and used Paxman cold cap throughout, as I was dreading losing my hair with the Taxotere. I'm very fortunate that it worked for me. I started with quite thick hair, and I had it cut shorter to a mid shoulder bob to reduce the weight, as advised by my breast care nurse.
Two and a half weeks after my first chemo I shed the most which was quite upsetting, and it was very matted after washing so took ages to untangle with my husbands' help, but after that it the hair loss slowed and although my hair is a bit thinner it isn't noticeable really unless you look carefully. I've since found out that the hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked and as hair follicles are the 2nd fastest dividing cell in the body it's quite normal to shed 2-3 weeks after 1st cycle!
It's really important to have a tight fitting cap. Mine was put on for 30 minutes prior to starting the drugs, and left on for 20 minutes after being switched off at the end of treatment, if it's removed any sooner the ice crystals sticking to the hair will pull the strands.
I had conditioner applied before the cap was put on, and bought an empty tiny spray bottle in Wilkinsons to spray warm water before the conditioner in my last two treatments as that's what Paxman suggest.
My breast care nurse suggested using a wide toothed comb - I got a cheap plastic one by Mark Hill in Boots which has been fantastic at detangling in the early days when I used baby shampoo as advised. DON'T!!
I was told by the Chemo unit that baby shampoo contains lots of parabens & chemicals to make it non sting, and to use Palmers, Simple or Dove. Since I switched to Palmers (I got mine in Wilkinsonss) my hair stopped getting matted & tangled after washing, felt much softer and the shedding lessened considerably. I stopped wrapping my hair in a towel turban to dry it and just pat it, and let it dry naturally, wash only twice a week.
Yes, cold cap is uncomfortable at first, but with lots of hot drinks and chatting to others, plus my husband and something to read I kept myself distracted, after the first session I got paracetamol prescribed and took that as needed. The last two cycles I took 2 xParacetamol 30 minutes before I knew the Cold Cap was starting which worked for me.
Hope this helps. I only saw a Paxman leaflet halfway through my treatment, the website is:
Good luck to everyone with your Chemo!
Hello, I'm new here. I life in Belgium and here many breast cancer patients get 4 EC dose dense (this meens concentrated and every 2 weeks) + 12 weekly Taxol's.
Normally only patients who only need to have Taxol can have an ice cap. I convinced my oncologist with recent study's to use an ice cap in my case but they have no idea how long it should stay on. (Paxman cooling machine) So they have put it on for half an our before the chemo and 90 minutes after, as they do for Taxol. Please, can any of you who has/had a combination with EC (FEC e.g.) tell me how long it has to stay on? Sue124?
I had my second dose of EC 9 days ago. I started losing a lot of hair on day 19 after washing it very gently with baby shampoo as they recommed me. And I'm still losing a lot of hair. I think I've lost already 50% evenly and I have a bad feeling it won't stop. In 5 days I have my third chemo
To anser the question: Nevertheless I think it's worth the pain, cold, headache, feeling of nausea! For me it's not about keeping all my hair or not having to use a wig. I would be enormously happy if I had a little bit hair left to camouflage the short hairs afterwards. But I don't think I'll be so lucky.
Hi, I've had 4 of my 6 EC chemo cycles and have used the Paxman system. Like others I had my long thick hair cut ear length before it started which, although a wrench, I'm glad I did. It is painful and the first 10 to 15 minutes especially so. Also this pain seems to have increased as my hair has thinned and I too have gone down a size in caps. I estimate I've lost 50% but evenly so it's not obvious to those who don't know me. The condition is not good,very dry and brittle, and I may be overdoing the conditioner As my scalp is flakey or there's residual conditioner - not sure which. Is it worth it? It has been for me - have a wig tucked away in a cupboard which I can't bear to look at despite my partner and friend telling me it's fine. I've got this far so I'm going to continue. But I do wonder after all this is it actually better then to cut it off to allow the, hopefully good condition hair, afterwards to grow. If not I'll have soft hair near the scalp with my current fuzzy stuff at the end!
Hope this is useful, Sue
Hi, I've had 4 of my 6 EC chemo cycles and have used the Paxman system. Like others I had my long thick hair cut ear length before it started which, although a wrench, I'm glad I did. It is painful and the first 10 to 15 minutes especially so. Also this pain seems to have increased as my hair has thinned and I too have gone down a size in caps. I estimate I've lost 50% but evenly so it's not obvious to those who don't know me. The condition is not good,very dry and brittle, and I may be overdoing the conditioner As my scalp is flakey or there's residual conditioner - not sure which. Is it worth it? I have a wig tucked away in a cupboard which I can't bear to look at despite my partner and friend telling me it's fine. I've got this far so I'm going to continue. But I do wonder after all this is it actually better then to cut it off to allow the,hopefully good condition hair, afterwards to grow. If not I'll have soft hair near the scalp with my current fuzzy stuff at the end!
Hope this is useful, Sue
I had 12 weeks of Taxol last year and I used Penguin Cold Caps. It worked very well for me - I would say I kept 90+% of my hair. Cold capping tends to work pretty well on weekly Taxol. I know it worked for me as I lost it EVERYWHERE else. It's a pain in the ass - it makes the chemo day long and it caused a lot of neck and shoulder pain in my case. But for me, it was well worth it. I did all of my normal activities and felt mostly fine. And after the 12 weeks, it was easy to move on. Hope that helps. Best of luck!
Cuteboy, I cold capped for my first FEC treatment and by day 19 I started shedding significantly and developing a thin patch on top. The cap was well administered and fitted. It gives you 10minutes of brain freeze agony and then numbness which is easy to tolerate. I didn't cold cap again for my next 2 sessions as I personally felt it was too much pain for too little gain. I also decided I wanted to make sure the chemo gets into every cell in my body, especially since the lymph fluid runs under the scalp and I am lymph node positive. I had my 3rd FEC a couple of weeks ago and still have about 40% of my hair (I had it all shaved off after 2nd FEC which makes it easier to manage with a wig). Hope this helps. X
I used the Paxman 1st one March 2nd 2017 No 4 was May 4th I am having the operation June 16th I found the cap quite horrid very uncomfortable and gave me a splitting headache I have lost 30% of my hair. not sure if I need more chemo after operation .
Before using the paxman I had my hair cut from shoulder length to just below chin length which helped a lot as my hair was heavy and thick . I bought shampoo and conditioner called Korres ( you can buy from amazon ) expensive but worth it . I found the best way was to comb my hair gently with a large shower comb ( wilko £1) when it was dry . when washing dont rub in and the conditioner I watered down just pat it gently then rinse off . Pat with a towel then drape this over your shoulder leave hair to dry naturally. I only wash my hair twice a week.. The outcome is a bit wild looking but at least I have some left . I woud use the cap again. Hope this helps anyone who is like me wanting to keep their hair . There is no guarantee but at least I have tried .. Good Luck Anne x
Thanks for your previous advice. I have had 3 rounds of FEC and 2 rounds of docetaxel, so one left to go on 22nd June. I have lost 80% of my hair despite using the paxman cold cap. The nurses used gauze particularly on my crown and a blue scrub cap to prevent ice damage to my scalp. I moved down from a medium cap to a small cap when I started docetaxel as I guess due to the hairloss it now fitted on. I am spurred on to continue with the cold cap as there is a 6% risk of permanent alopecia with docetaxel, but the head nurse at the chemo day unit was unsure whether I should continue. I am definitely going to try to manage one more time if I can. I had abit of a headache by the end of the last session so I was relieved it was over, I am hoping in 2 weeks I will feel up to it.
I was wondering if there is advice on supplements that will help hair growth, the registrar mentioned zinc and selenium.
Any thoughts appreciated, I too might ask about the tramadol if it doesn't make me too sleepy.
Blue2 you can wash your hair as normal from now on. Don't colour it for at least 6 weeks after you last chemo.
I am getting my existing hair trimmed ever couple of months until my regrowth catches up. To disguise it I use a topper if I am going anywhere have a look here:
The best one for me is the Jon Renau Top Notch but it is expensive - worth it because I like myself far better when I am wearing it plus you don't have to pay VAT if you tell them you have had chemo.
This one is also good but cheaper:
http://www.internetwigs.com/toppers/medium-tp-top-piece-.html same thing with the VAT
Thank you riversidedawn I took painkillers half way through this time which was better and I will ask about tramadol. Do you have any advice for afterwards? In terms of washing hair and the type of shampoo and conditioner - I was thinking of trying the paxman. Also, do you have any tips for styling hair without damaging it?
Thanks again x
I had my hair cut by a volunteer hairdresser at our local Hospice. My hair had been falling out all over while using the cold cap but as you say unless people knew - they wouldn't have known the difference. I had really long wispy bits which looked a mess. As soon as it was trimmed up - it looked so much tidier and much thicker looking. If you feel you need a trim then go for it - it's the little things that make us feel better when going through treatment.
I had my last chemo in January and now my hair is starting to thicken up on top but thin on the ends - I had it trimmed by my hairdresser four weeks ago to neaten it up before I started my phased return to work. People have been amazed at well my hair has coped with all the cold capping and chemo - it may not work for everyone but it does grow back quickly - I'm so glad I stuck it out.
Thank you for all the excellent suggestions! Could you please elaborate on the type of supplements that you took, and the hair growth products that you mention as being "best friends".
Hi, I am new to this forum and have just had my first chemo treatment with the cold cap (which I wear for 4 hours in total). I've found that the last 2 hours are the most difficult due to migraine pains and being uncomfortable. I took paracetamol beforehand but this doesn't seem to help the last couple of hours. Does anyone have any advice for me? My next session is in a weeks time and I was going to give it another go. Thanks in advance
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am having the same experience. I'm losing it all over and it and you can't really tell unless you know me and can see the difference.
The company I used said not to cut my hair for 2 months afterwards and I really don't know why that would matter. I need to cut it because it is fine like yours and I just think it will look much better and be a lot more manageable. I noticed that you did cut your hair during treatment and wonder if it seemed to affect it at all and if the company you used said it was okay.
Thank you so much! I hope everything is going great for you!
I have done 4 treatments of AC. I already did Taxotere previously so I am done with the chemo, hopefully for good. I used the Arctic Cold Caps and kept my hair until the last round and a month out I am still shedding. I don't have any noticeable bald spot but my hair is very thin and I am wearing a wig sometimes because it just looks so much better. I am afraid the shedding will continue and I will lose all of my hair but it looks like that will not be the case according to some of the responses to this thread. I am so grateful for the hope that gives to me. And it is reassuring to hear that my hair should come back faster. I have done everything I was told to do and I am still doing it. I was wondering if anyone used a dry shampoo to help with the oilness between washes. I am only washing my hair once a week because the most shedding occurs after I wash it and it starts looking pretty bad toward the end.
I did great with the cap. I used the Penguin Cold Cap May 2015-August 2015. My treatment was TCH. The way my oncologist set up my. He I mess, I only had to do it 4 times. I did everything they (The Penguin Cold Cap Company) told me to do and I continued this regiment for 10 months after I completed chemo, just to be on the safe side. I also had 6 weeks of radiation treatment. I had a little shedding but in all actuality, the strands I did loose weren't much more on a day to day basis than I have had throughout the rest of my life! When my hair fell out everywhere else, yet still upon my head, it was absolutely the greatest feeling. My eyes filled with tears because I could see the proof that it really really worked! It was also very nice to have a goal, something to focus on, something positive that I could do for myself. Something other than focusing on the cancer diagnosis. My husband and daughter got into it too. It gave them a way to be helpful, something they could do to help! As far as the temp (30' below C), well, that wasn't an issue either. I swear, it was only a few minutes of cold. Your head gets so cold, you don't feel it and there it is... problem solved! A little Ativan (0.5mg in my IV) did the trick and I stayed alert and talked with my friends and relatives while they capped me every 30 minutes! I recommend it and i's a shame so many people don't know about it. I work in the medical field as a nurse and as far as I know, it still isn't FDA approved here in the USA. I think the cost of renting the caps ($1600) was well worth it. It would take me years to grow my hair back and the cool thing was I had something positive to focus on and people didn't question me and tell me stories of loved ones with cancer etc when they saw me. It was my business if I wanted to talk about it, not someone else's.
I went today for my third FEC , I have lost 90%of hair and resemble Gollum now too, I was thinking I could no longer do the cold cap but they said carry on as changing to Tax next round and nurse advised it is not as harsh on the hair so my hair should start growing back so after reading comments on here I carried on. it was much colder this time couldnt wait to get it off , however painkillers took the edge off , I wear my topper to work and thats all good and hats and beanies at home . Like someone else said I was really disappointed in my results as other ladies I saw still had so much hair but it growing back quicker motivates me to carry on
Hello ladies. I'm a bit nervous because this is the first time I have added to a blog but I found others peoples' comments useful when I was considering using a cold cap. Like many of you I struggled through 6 chemo sessions using the cold cap and found the first 10 minutes or so the worst part but despite the tears I persevered and am glad I did. I'm not sure if anyone has experienced the same results as me but I lost more than 90% of my long hair by the time I finished chemo but found that "new" hair has continued to grow! Now just 5 weeks after finishing chemo I have a full head of hair that is 3 to 4 centremetres in length and 2 days ago trimmed of the last of my long hair so I now sport, what my best friend cals, my pixie look.
Hi Everyone, I am going to have my 3rd AC Treatment next Tuesday, I have been using the
Paxman Cold Cap. I am shedding loads and I'm now on Day 20, I have another 6 treatment to go. I Am following all the guidelines about how to take care of your hair during Treatments and using the Cold Cap. I would like to know if my Hair Shedding will slow down?
Thanking you all in advance
Hi Amoyart, I am using Paxman too fingers crossed to you get to day 14 !!Mine was ok until then and now is shedding heaps ! My hair grows very fast and they said i might lose up to 70% but it will grow back faster so I am continuing with it-they will have to put some gauze or a paper hat on to protect my scalp from frost bite lol hope I got hair in 4 days as more chemo..Good Luck hun xx
Hi Ladies I started the Paxman cold cap -the nurses use it -about two and a half weeks ago and as they do everything I hope its all ok, but in the last 2 days its coming out and 6 hairs together in clumps it just wont stop!! They say if your hair grows fast that you could loose up to 70% but that it will grow back quicker and to not shave it off-I am tempted but am wearing a hat all the time to collect the hair thats falling.The ladies using their own cold caps and ice seem to have better results as they monitor the temps more closely. Baldom here I come lol I am getting a wig as I will need one, I have some turbans but need a wig for work. Sharon.xx
I am about to have my 3rd FEC on Monday and using cold caps, too. I have been fortunate. I had a lot of hair to begin with and only shedding a bit more than usual, but nothing noticeable. I start 45min before, but continue it for 6 hours after. I know it's a pain, but it's worth it to me. my hair has not changed at all. I'm not sure if it's me or what, but I only feel a bit of discomfort the first few minutes. I will pray for you. I know it isn't easy. xoxo
I am about to go through chemo #3, and thankfully, I still have all my hair. I am using Arctic Cold Caps. i start 45min before infusion and continue 6 hours after. I wash my hair 2-3 x a week, but do use organic conditioner or cur activator everyday. I have curly hair, so I cannot go a day ala natural i still have my eyebrows, my eyelashes are thinning, but still have my hair. a Bad hair day is better than no hair day for me. Good Luck, all.