World Cancer Day, held on 4 February every year, is an awareness-raising initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). It aims to raise awareness and educate people about cancer to help prevent millions of preventable deaths each year by asking governments and individuals across the globe to take action against the disease.

The World Cancer Day Declaration, which was put together in 2013, contains nine goals to be achieved by 2025. These goals include making effective pain control and distress management services universally available, having the cancer-causing infections HPV and HBV covered by universal vaccination programmes and improving access to accurate cancer diagnosis, quality multimodal treatment, rehabilitation, supportive and palliative care services.

The overarching goal of the annual World Cancer Day events is to majorly reduce premature deaths from cancer and improve cancer survival rates as well as the quality of life for those survivors.

Patients undergoing cancer treatments often require support to cope with some of the side effects of cancer drugs. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy are all cancer treatments which can result in hair loss, a symptom which many patients find difficult to process. However, recently approved scalp-cooling medical devices could be the solution to this problem.

Cancer hair loss treatment 2019

Cancer-hair-loss-treatment 2019

Credit: Paxman. 

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Scalp cooling is a treatment that can prevent the hair loss that is sometimes caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.

Chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second-fastest dividing cell, which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause alopecia when the hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked.

Patients who undergo scalp cooling must wear a cold cap on their head. The cold cap works by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees before, during and after chemotherapy is administered. The cold temperature on the patient’s head reduces the blood flow to the hair follicle which may prevent or minimise hair loss.

Successful scalp cooling depends on many factors but Paxman says several studies have shown that the treatment can be effective across a wide range of chemotherapy regimens.

British scalp cooling specialist Paxman recently showcased the latest model of the Paxman Scalp Cooling System (PSCS) at the medical technology show Arab Health 2019. Last summer, Paxman received FDA approval for an expanded indication of its system in the US. The company hoped that the clearance would help to increase the number of patient enrolments for systems already installed in the US.

The Paxman scalp cooling system has been tested and developed over a 25-year period and the company claims that it features the highest levels of clinical efficacy, hospital safety and patient comfort.

Dignitana is another scalp-cooling device company. The company is known for the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System, which can also minimise hair loss from chemotherapy. The device received FDA clearance in 2015 and the company says that 67% of patients who used its system during a pivotal trial retained their hair.