Cold Caps or a Wig for Cancer Patients

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Dignitana DigniCap Cooling System for breast cancer patients. This computer-controlled device circulates cold liquid to a cooling cap worn during chemotherapy sessions, and was used in a clinical trial that ultimately resulted in the system’s approval.

Hair loss is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, as well as one of the most emotionally difficult. The extent of hair loss varies from patient to patient; some experience total hair loss, while thinning is the final result for others. In most cases, hair loss is temporary, with growth resuming once treatment is complete. Some people find it comforting to wear wigs for cancer patients until their hair grows back.

How Do Cold Caps Work?

DigniCap helps preserve some of the user’s hair by constricting blood vessels in the scalp, thereby preventing chemotherapy from penetrating – and damaging – hair follicles. Due to concern over metastasis in the scalp, the treatment is not recommended for blood-based cancers.

Seven out of 10 patients with early breast stage breast cancer who received the treatment in the clinical trial kept at least 50 percent of their hair. It is important to keep this percentage in mind, as the vast majority of participants still experienced significant hair loss even with the cap. And in many instances, it wasn’t subtle overall hair loss; some participants lost hair in concentrated areas that left them with sizable bald spots. For many patients, the cold cap treatment itself is downright uncomfortable – with side effects including headaches, complaints of feeling cold, dizziness and claustrophobia.

Do You Still Need a Wig?

Regardless of whether or not breast cancer patients decide that DigniCap is for them, a cancer wig is still a wise investment. Many insurance companies will reimburse women for the cost of the wig, provided they call it a cranial prosthesis, and having an alternative solution is never a bad idea.

At Wig Allure, we can customize all wigs for patients to match our clients’ current hair color, texture and style so that no one ever has to know it is not their real hair. And we will do so during your personal appointment. So if you have tried the DigniCap and found you simply cannot tolerate the bald spots chemo may have caused regardless, take advantage of our vast inventory. Our selection allows us to get you set up the same day and put a smile back on your face.  We care about your hair!


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