FDA-approved cap prevents hair loss from chemotherapy

The FDA approved a new tool that fights hair loss during chemotherapy for breast cancer patients, called the DigniCap, and it's very promising.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives and many go through the devastating process of chemotherapy. When you add hair loss to the mix, it is hard to look in the mirror and see the same person, according to breast cancer survivor Louise Lewis.

“You don't look like yourself, just wearing a wig and just going through the motions of being a different person because it takes a lot out of you,” Louise Lewis said.

The DigniCap is designed to prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients in the early stages of breast cancer. The cap chills the scalp before and during chemo treatments – which is the key to keeping hair from falling out.

“Less chemotherapy drug will be delivered to those hair follicles and therefore the hair loss will diminish,” Dr. Andres Wiernik, an oncologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, said.

Right now, very few clinics in the U.S. actually have the DigniCap available, but that will likely change. So will the fact that it's not covered by insurance.  For now, it costs patients $1,500 to $3,000 total.  It is approved only for early stage breast cancer patients, but that's just because those were the patients originally chosen for the study.

“The next chapter is going to be to prove the role of this device for other cancer [and] cancer treatments in general that affect hair loss,” Wiernik said.

88 percent of patients who used the DigniCap were satisfied with the result. The majority of the patients kept their hair.

Although the Dignicap was not yet in use while Lewis was undergoing her treatments, she said it would have been nice to have one less battle to overcome.

More information on the DigniCap - http://www.dignicap.com/