Clinical research into persistent chemotherapy-induced alopecia has shown that scalp cooling can mitigate the risk, with hair regrowth being stronger, faster, and healthier as a result of scalp cooling treatment2. A study conducted in Japan in 2021 found that PCIA was 17% higher in those who did not scalp cool, measured 13 months after their final chemotherapy infusion3.

The psychosocial impact of hair loss has also been researched with findings reporting alopecia has major impacts on quality of life, body image, and psychological well-being4.

Patient advocate, Shirley Ledlie shares her experience with PCIA, reinforcing the importance of initiating scalp-cooling discussions with all patients on taxane-based chemotherapies. Shirley explains how even 18 years after her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, she is still visually labelled as a cancer patient – with her hair being a signifier of this.

Having gone through this traumatic experience, Shirley set up A Head of Our Time, an organization of cancer patients who have banded together to share emotional support, discuss medical research, and advocate for PCIA.

To find out more about PCIA, a list of resources and clinical papers are below:

Resources:

https://www.aheadofourtime.org/

https://www.alopecia.org.uk/pages/category/find-a-support-group?Take=18

Clinical Papers:

https://scalpcoolingstudies.com/study-library/ohsumi-2021-observational-study/

https://scalpcoolingstudies.com/study-library/bhoyrul-2021-observational-study/

https://scalpcoolingstudies.com/study-library/martin-2018-observational-study/

References:

1 Martín M, de la Torre-Montero JC, López-Tarruella S, Pinilla K, Casado A, Fernandez S, Jerez Y, Puente J, Palomero I, González Del Val R, Del Monte-Millan M, Massarrah T, Vila C, García-Paredes B, García-Sáenz JA, Lluch A. Persistent major alopecia following adjuvant docetaxel for breast cancer: incidence, characteristics, and prevention with scalp cooling. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Oct;171(3):627-634. doi: 10.1007/s10549-018-4855-2. Epub 2018 Jun 19. Erratum in: Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Jul 16;: PMID: 29923063; PMCID: PMC6133184.

2 Bhoyrul B, Asfour L, Lutz G, et al. Clinicopathologic Characteristics and Response to Treatment of Persistent Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia in Breast Cancer Survivors. JAMA Dermatol. 2021;157(11):1335–1342. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.3676

3 Ohsumi S, Kiyoto S, Takahashi M, Takashima S, Aogi K, Shimizu S, Doi M. Prospective study of hair recovery after (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy with scalp cooling in Japanese breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer. 2021 Oct;29(10):6119-6125. doi: 10.1007/s00520-021-06168-y. Epub 2021 Apr 2. PMID: 33797582; PMCID: PMC8410694.4 Identifying the supportive care needs of men and women affected by chemotherapy-induced alopecia? A systematic review. Paterson et al, 2020.

4 Identifying the supportive care needs of men and women affected by chemotherapy-induced alopecia? A systematic review. Paterson et al, 2020.