After suffering acute backache one night in early 2013, I had two months of tests before I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer to my spine. As the cancer had metastasised it was deemed non-curative, so I embarked on a sequence of treatments which aimed to contain the progress of the cancer for as long as possible. In February 2016, my consultant prescribed a course of chemotherapy, namely Docetaxel, of ten sessions administered every three weeks.
The healthcare company that administered the chemotherapy discussed the use of a Paxman cold cap, and we agreed that I should try it. I have to say, as a 61-year-old male with a degree of pattern baldness I was not overly concerned about the prospect of losing my hair. However, at no point did either the healthcare provider or staff at Paxman make me feel that I should be treated any differently to anyone else who may have had more hair to lose in the first place.
Prior to commencing the treatment, Andrew (the Paxman area representative) came to my home to deliver the equipment and demonstrate how to use it correctly. I know that I have quite a large head, making it awkward to get a well-fitting motorcycle or bicycle helmet, so I was provided with the biggest silicone cap and over bonnet that Paxman could provide. The machine is simple to use and the cap is easy to fit, although a degree of care should be taken to ensure that it fits properly and areas of bare skin are protected from over cooling.
While the cap fitted well for the first few minutes of the trial, during my first chemo session it had to be worn for over two hours. In that time it became uncomfortable around my forehead and underneath my chin where the strap was fitted. On the second and third cycles I played around with the fit and managed to make it fit better but it was still uncomfortable. A phone call to Paxman led to a follow up by Andrew, who brought a different cap which, whilst still an XL, was a slightly better fit due to the process of it being handmade.
With this new cap and some home adjustments, I continued to use the cap for the whole ten treatments and got a result, as through the whole process I did not lose any hair. For patients with larger heads like mine, there is a need for a larger cap and bonnet. This allows it to be fitted in a snug manner around the head without being overly tight in any area, which could be painful or off-putting. I understand from recent information from Paxman, they are developing new caps that will accommodate a wider range of head sizes.
Much is said about the cold when the cap is first fitted and turned on. My observation is that for the first ten to twenty minutes, you get what feels like brain freeze (like a VERY cold day) but after that you become accustomed to it. It is definitely worth persevering; just wrap up more warmly to prevent your body temperature from dropping.
The whole experience was fine and the staff at Paxman were excellent. If anyone with concerns over losing their hair is considering this treatment, I would recommend they try it!