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“Losing part of your body through breast cancer is bad enough without losing your hair as well.”

Clare's Story

Losing part of your body through breast cancer is bad enough without losing your hair as well.

A degree of control...

My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago when cold caps were relatively new. There weren’t many people using them so my mum didn’t take the opportunity to try it, and unfortunately, the year before I was diagnosed we lost my mum.

Seeing my mum go through chemo and lose her hair was a big thing for me; I didn’t want to go through that and I was determined to keep mine.

Losing part of your body through breast cancer is bad enough without losing your hair as well. I tried the Paxman Scalp Cooling System because I wanted to remain as normal as I could; I’ve got two young children and I didn’t want to be the mum who was stood in the school playground with a headscarf or a wig on. Even going on a night out, I didn’t want to have to decide which headscarf would go with my outfit.

I was given the information about scalp cooling and cold caps when I was first diagnosed so I could read up about it before I went up onto the ward to start the first treatment. Having been a qualified nurse for over 20 years, it was very strange to be the patient rather than the professional – I am used to looking after people with cancer, not the other way around. My oncology team, breast care team and chemo team alongside Paxman were so supportive and I’m really impressed by how swiftly the treatment was planned.


When you are first diagnosed, you have just got to go with the flow but the cold cap gives you control over one decision.

During the scalp cooling (cold cap) process my friends and family were very encouraging, particularly my dad, having seen what my mum had gone through. A friend used to come with me every week, which really helped me persevere because it is so worth it now. I remember getting upset on the ward one day and saying I didn’t know whether I could continue anymore. The staff nurse said, “We’ll take it off then, you’ve got a wig at home”. Those are the words that made me carry on.

When you are first diagnosed, you have just got to go with the flow but the cold cap gives you control over one decision. People say to me, “I don’t know how you have done it”, so I feel proud of myself to have maintained that determination to keep my hair. If you can get through your chemo, you can get through your scalp cooling. The outcome outweighs the disadvantages.

Red more stories...

Clare with Pet

Having been a qualified nurse for over 20 years, it was very strange to be the patient rather than the professional

Clare head shot

I didn’t want to be the mum who was stood in the school playground with a headscarf or a wig on.

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