• The FDA recently expanded indications for scalp cooling. Initially, scalp cooling was FDA approved for patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The recent approval includes most solid tumors. Studies in breast cancer showed that 2/3 of women using the device reported losing less than half of their hair. This was favorable over doing nothing.

    While not a life threatening side effect of chemotherapy, hair loss is definitely a problem. For patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis, losing hair can be psychologically devastating. Fortunately most chemotherapy hair loss resolves but it can take a year or more.

    Off Label Scalp Cooling

    While the product is FDA approved for solid tumors, it is likely that it would work for chemotherapy for lymphoma and leukemia as well. FDA approvals mean that a device or drug can be advertised for a certain condition. Once FDA approved, physicians in their discretion, can use a device for other purposes. These uses are termed off-label.

    One other concern with scalp cooling is the potential for causing metastatic disease. Fortunately, at least one study puts that problem to rest. A meta-analysis shows no risk of metastatic disease with scalp cooling.

    For patients whose hair does not return about cancer treatment, a hair transplant may be appropriate.