Scalp Cooling Therapy to Prevent Hair Loss

When undergoing chemotherapy many people worry about losing their hair. Scalp cooling therapy may help: it uses cold caps and scalp cooling machines to help minimize and prevent hair loss.

What is scalp cooling therapy?

Scalp cooling therapy (also called cold cap therapy) uses tightly fitted caps and ice packs or a machine cooling system to narrow the blood vessels in your scalp. This is thought to reduce the amount of chemotherapy that reaches hair follicles, making it less likely that your hair will fall out during treatment.

That said, it’s important to know that scalp cooling does not work for everyone. Factors that may influence its efficacy include:

  • The type of chemotherapy drug you receive.
  • Your ability to keep the cap at the right temperature before, during and after your treatment.
  • Whether the cooling cap fits properly.

Am I eligible for scalp cooling therapy?

Scalp cooling is considered safe to use for patients with solid cancer tumors. Patients with localized lymphomas, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma, may choose to scalp cool as well. Ask your oncologist or a member of your cancer care team to see if scalp cooling might work for you.

What types of scalp cooling are available--and how much does it cost?

There are two types of scalp cooling caps:

Manual Cold Caps

cold cap illustrationManual cold caps must be placed on your head by a trained “capper.” This can be a family member, friend, volunteer or hired professional. Here’s how it works: You bring several caps with you to your chemotherapy appointment. (Transport them in a cooler with dry ice to keep them cold.) The cap is worn before, during and after treatment (specific timing depends on your chemotherapy treatment). Your capper will help you change it every 20-25 minutes to ensure the cap is keeping your head at a consistent cold temperature.

Caps are rented by the month, and the total cost is typically between $1,500-$3,000 (plus the cost of dry ice). These caps can be used at any Henry Ford Cancer location.

Machine Scalp Cooling System

machine scalp cooling illustrationA machine scalp cooling system has a cap that’s hooked up to a machine. You wear the cap before, during and after your chemotherapy treatment. The machine keeps the cap at a consistent temperature, so it does not need to be changed.

Henry Ford offers Paxman scalp cooling machines at our Brownstown, Columbus and Wyandotte locations. The cost is about $2,200 for the cap and 12 treatments.

How do I get started?

Scalp cooling therapy needs to begin at your very first chemotherapy appointment for it to work, let your nurse navigator, social worker and/or oncologist know as soon as you can that you would like scalp cooling therapy. Then:

  1. Check with your health insurance company to see if they will reimburse you for scalp cooling therapy.
  2. Choose a cold cap company and call them to get started.
    • The machine scalp cooling system is only available at Brownstown, Columbus and Wyandotte. If you are at these centers, speak to your oncology team about using the machine scalp cooling.
    • If you receive treatment at any other Henry Ford location, choose a manual cold cap company.
  3. Apply for financial help right away if you need it. Your cancer social worker can help.

What financial assistance is available for scalp cooling therapy?

Cooling cap therapy is expensive, but there are organizations that can help cover the costs. Ask your cancer social worker or contact the following groups for more information:

  • Cap and Conquer -  Provides financial help for patients in Southeast Michigan.
  • Carefree Capping -  Provides financial assistance for young adults (under 30) with lymphoma undergoing chemotherapy in Michigan.
  • Hair to Stay -  Supports patients with household incomes at or below 3000% of the federal poverty level.
  • Paxman Hub -  Provides financial assistance for Paxman users only.

Scalp Cooling Therapy Resources

These organizations are not endorsed, owned or operated by Henry Ford Health.

  • Manual Cold Cap Companies

    These companies provide supplies for manual cold caps:

  • Machine Scalp Cooling

    Paxman provides the supplies you will need for machine scalp cooling therapy if you are getting chemotherapy at our Columbus, Brownstown or Wyandotte locations.

  • Scalp Cooling Therapy Education

    Still trying to decide whether you want scalp cooling therapy? Check out these websites for more information:

    • The Rapunzel Project
      • This is a nonprofit organization that provides information, access to studies and true stories about scalp cooling therapy.
Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your web experience. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. Read our Internet Privacy Statement to learn what information we collect and how we use it.

Accept All Cookies