VIDEO COMING SOON WITH MORE INFORMATION!
In the meantime…here are ten things you need to ask yourself before you commit to cold capping.
1. What kind of cancer do I have?
Cold capping is for solid tumor cancers. This includes ones such as breast, endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, lung, etc. Leukemia and lymphoma are not solid tumor cancers, however I have personally known a lymphoma fighter that cold capped successfully with the blessing of her oncologist and has been NED since 2018.
2. Do I need a guarantee that cold capping will work?
If the answer is yes, cold capping is not for you. Cold capping success relies heavily on your body’s ability to detox out the excess drugs. Of course, there is no way of knowing how you’ll do with that. If you’re willing to follow the guidelines though and take a chance, cold capping is for you!
3. Do I have any serious underlying health issues, especially ones that relate to my liver or kidneys?
If the answer is yes, cold capping may not be for you. Much of cold capping depends on the ability of those organs to kick out the excess drugs after their first go-around. However, people with liver and kidney cancer have successfully cold capped, and there have been people that have been completely healthy other than cancer that it hasn’t worked as well as they had hoped. Your representative will give you all the tips and tricks they can though to make sure you’re successful.
4. Am I willing to help my body detox?
Detoxification is achieved through things like drinking water (100 ounces a day) and taking epsom salt baths, among other things. If you are willing to go the extra mile, your chances of success are higher.
5. Am I willing and/or able to withstand cold temperatures for long periods of time?
Cold capping involves placing a cap that is someplace between -28 degrees C and -36 degrees C on your head for hours at a time. Some people cannot bear the thought of this and therefore are not likely to be successful. Also, if your protocol includes drugs that make you sensitive to cold (which, one lung cancer protocol includes this drug), cold capping is not an option. However, if you are willing to ask your oncologist for something to calm your nerves (Ativan is your friend!) and grab yourself a nice warm blanket, cold capping my be for you!
6. Am I willing to “baby” my hair while going through this treatment and for some time after?
Cold capping protects your young and medium aged hair follicles, not your older ones, therefore you will see some shedding. However, the aim is to retain around 75% of your hair with no bald spots. To achieve that, you must limit heat (hot showers pounding down on your head, hot blow dryers, straightening/curling irons) and heavy products in your hair. You also must limit washing your hair to two or three times a week and you must use more natural shampoos and conditioners free of things like sulfates and parabens. If you’re willing to do this, cold capping could be for you!
7. Do I realize that cold capping can be costly?
If you are using a machine system at your hospital, each session can run as much as $400 and may not be covered by insurance. If using a manual system, you pay a monthly rental fee (somewhere between $325 and $500, plus often times shipping expenses) and then you must purchase dry ice to freeze the caps between. Many companies also charge a (refundable) security deposit. Some insurance companies are better about reimbursing your costs, but it is something you need to fight for, please know that. Many people either write the expense off on their taxes, set up GoFundMe accounts to cover the cost, or apply for a grant through Hair To Stay or another cancer charity.
8. Do I understand that there’s a time commitment involved?
Cold capping takes a little time. If using a manual system, you must pick up dry ice in advance and then you must put the caps on ice an hour before your appointment. Once you arrive at your appointment, you must start capping 50 minutes before the hair loss drugs start, throughout the infusion, and then for a set amount of time after (which depends on your drug protocol). However, you only cold cap on infusion day!
9. Do I have someone that is able to help me, at least in the beginning?
Having someone to help you put on your caps, at least in the beginning, is vital. That could be your significant other, a family member, a friend, whomever! People will say that you’re not able to do it alone, but I am proof you can, as I had to cap myself for more than one session when my husband wasn’t able to make it last minute. Don’t worry, there’s a video coming soon showing you how, but until you get the hang of it, have someone available to help.
10. Do I have the support of my oncologist and the infusion nurses? If not, do I care?
My first oncologist told me cold capping didn’t work and that he wouldn’t let me try it…so I fired him! Having a team that supports you is helpful, but not necessary, especially if you’re the type that loves to prove people wrong. If your infusion team is unfamiliar with the process, have your representative reach out to them and walk them through how it goes.
So…you’ve decided that cold capping is for you – YAY! It literally was one of the things that got me through my treatments, and after it was all said and done, I kept about 80% of my hair (which, I would have kept more but there was some serious user error involved in the beginning!)
I personally used Penguin Cold Caps and highly recommend them, as they are the pioneers in cold capping, plus their system tends to have the highest success rates with the harsher drug protocols. You can rent their caps HERE – let them know Nicole from Staring Down Cancer sent you on your order form, and I’ll send you a little gift to use while capping. 😊
Hopefully this was helpful! Look for more info coming soon.