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UPMC Hillman Cancer Center offers treatment to reduce chemo hair loss

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport now offers Paxman scalp cooling therapy for cancer patients to help reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. The treatment consists of a compact refrigeration system unit which circulates coolant through a specially designed single-patient use cap.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport is the only cancer center in North Central PA to offer patients this innovative treatment.

“Being told you have cancer is devastating and knowing you might lose your hair to chemotherapy adds to the trauma,” said Michelle Gaida, director of cancer services, UPMC Hillman Cancer Centers in North Central PA. “We’re proud to offer a solution that allows our patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, gynecological cancers, and other solid tumors to retain their hair and self-confidence while receiving life-saving cancer treatment.”

Cooling the scalp during chemotherapy treatments causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which has been shown to reduce blood flow to the scalp and results in less chemotherapeutic drug being delivered to the hair follicles. Patients undergo scalp cooling each time they have a chemotherapy infusion.

“Studies have shown that 40-55% of patients with anthracycline chemotherapy and 70-90% of patients with taxane-based chemotherapy have retained their hair thanks to the scalp cooling treatment,” said Abdalla Sholi, MD, regional medical director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Centers in North Central PA. “It’s also 55% effective with chemotherapy used to treat other types of cancers. The treatment is safe and delivered comfortably to the patient.”

The scalp cooling treatments are free to patients thanks to donors of Susquehanna Health Foundation, including a $51,048 donation from lead donor, Ciocca Toyota of Williamsport, and a generous discount from Paxman, the maker of the cooling system.

Patients interested in receiving scalp cooling treatment should speak to their oncologist. To learn more about the services provided at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport, visit Hillman.UPMC.com.

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