Scalp cooler gets plenty of use at Redlands Mater hospital

CANCER patients of  Mater Cancer Care Centre Brisbane are taking advantage of an application which can save them losing their hair while undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

COOL TIMES: Redlands local Ellen Buckingham with the scalp cooler she has used in an effort to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.

COOL TIMES: Redlands local Ellen Buckingham with the scalp cooler she has used in an effort to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.

A total of 20 patients at the hospital have used the Paxman Scalp Cooler which increases the chances of them keeping their hair.

Redlands local Ellen Buckingham was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and then had a mastectomy.

“I felt a lump in the shower, went for a mammogram and was called back to see the doctor who confirmed it was breast cancer,” Ms Buckingham said.

Doctors had to perform a mastectomy.

It was a difficult time for Ellen. “I work in cosmetics and I like to look good as it helps me to feel good too,” she said.

“Keeping my hair became even more important to me after the decision was made to have the mastectomy. Looking after my body and hair makes me feel better about myself – especially on the bad days.”

While having chemotherapy at Mater Cancer Care Centre Brisbane as a private patient, Ellen was able to use a scalp cooler.

Mater Cancer Care Centre Brisbane nursing director Paul Moran said the Paxman scalp cooling system – bought with funds donated by Mater Foundation donors – reduced the risk of hair loss for chemotherapy patients.

“The cap reduces scalp temperature reducing blood flow to the hair follicles and alleviating the damage that chemotherapy causes,” he said.

“We’ve had 20 patients access the scalp cooler over the past six months. ”

Ellen has worn the cap through each of her four rounds of chemotherapy and says it was hard to get used to at first.

“The first time I used the scalp cooler I didn’t think I was going to like the feeling but after those initial moments I forgot about it and it wasn’t bad at all,” said Ellen.

“After the first round of chemotherapy I felt like I was losing quite a lot of hair.

“But after those first 10 days, it started to slow down and there was very little hair loss which was amazing.

“...Unless I have told people, they don’t know that I’m sick so it makes me feel good about myself. Family and friends who do know about my cancer are amazed at how well I look.”