Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. Men can also develop breast cancer, although this is rare. This group is for anyone affected by breast cancer to get together, ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

Cold cap? any advice

No. of entries: 30 | Posted on 6 Feb 2013 9:29 AM

Cold cap? any advice

  • I have just been told that I need 6 sessions of chemotherapy starting in just under two weeks time, very nervous about it especially the thought of losing hair.

    They mentioned the cold cap??  Has anyone tried this?  Is it worth the extra 3-4 hours in hospital to save some or all your hair?  I'm very undecided whether to have this, it sounds like a miracle freezing your hair folicles so the chemo can't reach your scalp.

    Any advice would be good  or just how to cope with the first course of chemotherapy, it's all so frightening!


  • Hi Lynne

    I finished chemo nearly 4 weeks ago and can remember feeling very nervous before the first one. As most ladies say - take the anti sickness meds. I felt less nauseous with each treatment but tiredness can  accumulate so rest when you need to. By week 2-3 after each chemo you may find you begin to feel OK again so feel more able to catch up on things you want to do before the next session. My advice would be to be kind to yourself and take it easy. Try not to worry about doing everything you are used to doing, It is time to really look after yourself. 

    I had some different symptoms with the first eg spots on my face. I had some mouth/nose soreness and from the 5th cycle my abdomen has been painful. Having said that as most say - it is doable though I admit that at number 3 I felt like not doing any more! There are many threads on here and on breastcancercare re. chemo and the symptoms can vary from person to person and session to session. Most symotoms have been experienced by someone and it can be re-assuring to check it out..

    I did the cold cap - which was OK for the first 2 sessions as my hair was still thickish and insulated my scalp from the cap. I did keep most of my hair but it thinned quite a lot on top and did come out in clumps after number 2. As it was winter I was able to wear a wooly hat when I went out and it looked fine so I never needed the wig. The cap felt colder with each session but I perservered though was tempted to give up. They gave me hot drinks which helped as did the heated pillow they used for the arm in which  they injected the chemo. It didn't add 3-4 hours - I would say about 1.5-2 hours max. in my case. Good luck with what ever you decide.



  • Hi


    I finished my chemo last summer and used the cold cap as for me losing my hair was just too much. It dose make the day longer but you are normally hanging about at the begining while they mix up yor treatment anyway ant then they start the countdown time after they have given you the two drugs that make you lose your hair.

    Tips I learnt off of here before I satrted were if you have very long hair have it cut shorter mine was half way down my back and I had it cut to shoulder lenght, you need to be very gentle with your hair, use a mild shampoo and dont wash it for a couple of days before treatment and then leave it as long as possiable after I tried to go 4 or 5 days. No hair dryer or streightners and dont rub it dry. A silk or satin pillow case will also help. Be gently when brushing or combing.

    My hair was very thick and although sometimes in the shower it seemed like loads was coming out if you dident know you would never know I was having chemo.

    On the chemo front take all the anti sickness you are given and you will also have a number to contact if you have any problems, do this streight away if you are ill in any way(in my case constapasion0 as they can give you something to sort anything out dont be a marta rest when you need.



  • Thanks Caz for your advice, think I will give it a go, I know it doesn't work for everyone but it's good to try it.  I feel like you losing my hair is a big thing and has given me lots of anxiety.

    Thanks also for your advice on caring for it before and after treatment and the chemo advice, much appreciated.



  • Lynne I used cold cap 14 years ago when they we new on the market and it worked for me. Onc told me a that time that I was a waste of time and wouldn't work but t did. Thinned a little but never had to wear a hat etc. I am Docetaxel this time and having my third one on Monday and still have my hair using cold cap . I am even going for a hair cut today. ( hope I haven't jinxed it ) I know it is well worth a try. It is not for everyone but if you don't try you don't know. Hope all goes well for you Wendy x x
  • Thanks Wendy, they've said the same to me that only 30% of people manage to keep hair, I will definitely try it as you say it's worth a try, good luck with your treatment too, Lynne xx





  • Hi


    def do the cold cap. It is so cold it hurts for @ 15 min then is bearable. Dont chicken out. Its worth it.

    also dont have your hair cut short as its NOT necessary.

    make sure all the hair is wet and covered in conditioner.

    your chemo sessions will be longer as a result of using the cap. 

    Take a cap and a towel to hide your wet hair after the chemo session

    good luck





  • Hi Lyndyloo. Me too. I start my FEC-T chemo on 22nd Feb and my oncologist has recommended I go for the cold cap. I wasn't sure either but I think I'll probably give it a try, after reading the comments here. The trouble is I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to feeling the cold. Going with it wet & covered in conditioner is an interesting concept. Haven't heard that one before.

  • hi is I can clarify you arrive with dry hair and the hospital should spray the hair wet and apply the conditioner before the cap is put on.

    as I say grit your teeth for @ the 1st 15 min.

    the cap works

  • Thank you all very much for your advice, I will definitely give it a go x

  • Hiya, good luck with starting chemo. I start mine in 3 days, I'm having FEC then FECT. Ive decided not to use the cold cap l, although the nurse told me 70% of women that tried it were happy with the result I wouldn't be able to live with the headache it can cause as I have a headache most days anyway. My kids (ages 8, 10 and 13) and I have planned a haircut day where the one week after my first chemo they are going to cut if for me before my husband shaves it off. I've got some gorgeous scarfs ready and a wig (although I'm not planning on wearing a wig). I'd love for my hair to stay but I've accepted the loss as part of the healing process :) Again good luck to you and I hope the cold cap works well for you Xxxx
  • Thanks Kate, I'm going to give it a go, apparently if you can cope with the first 10-15 mins you'll be fine, I'm going to try it for the first and see how I cope.  Good luck with your first chemo xxx

  • Hi I to am in the same position as you, I can't decide what to do regarding the cold cap. The advice on here is pretty good, although mixed, what have you decided to do? does it depend on which type of chemo you have? I have got my appt next week with oncologist to get start date etc......hope you are well, xx

  • Hi I'm going to give it a go, hopefully I can cope with the first 10-15 minutes, that's the worse apparently.  If I don't give it a go I will never know if it works and keeping my hair would be great, I'm having FEC-T,

    Good luck with your decision, I will keep posting on here if I have it and you can see my reply..ekkk!!!

  • Hi Lynne I agree, if you don't try it then you will always be wondering what if. When do you start your chemo? I presume when I go to see oncologist on Mon that she will tell me the type etc and give me options of cold cap etc, WOW it's all a mine field, the unknown it stresses me out! xx