Hair is very important to most women.  They spend a lot of time and money getting the best from their hair.

 If you have ever listened to them chatting about their hair, you would have noticed that most of them are never happy with what nature has given them! 

Sammy Jo was no different and she loved having hair extensions, to make her hair look longer and thicker.

So when it came to starting her Chemo, she had already made her mind up to use the “Cold Cap”

I didn’t like seeing the severe discomfort the Cold Cap caused Sammy during her chemotherapy, but it gave her big psychological benefits which were contributing to her general well being. 

She became focussed on preserving her hair, instead of over thinking what she was going through. 

It was her way of fighting back. It became an actual physical fight and the further she got through the chemotherapy sessions, she could see the rewards of using the cap. 

Who Cancer Affects - What is Cancer - Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation - Essex

The Cold Cap that Sammy used is like a swimming cap with a small pipe running round the surface of the cap. 

The pipe runs from a cooling machine, something like a freezer. The fluid in the pipe is cooled and circulates round the cap, cooling the scalp and reducing blood flow containing the chemotherapy drug to the hair follicles. 

The cooling cap is held in place and insulated by wearing another cap made from neoprene. 

The cap is normally fitted 15mins before the chemotherapy is administered and is kept on for about 15mins after the treatment is finished. 

Sammy had a couple of issues with this. 

She got very cold during her treatment and we overcame this by wrapping an electric blanket round her. 

She also pointed out that the cooling cap did not fit snug to the crown of her head. I solved this by adding extra padding into the neoprene cap in the crown area. 

The cooling cap is made so that one size fits all so it is likely that some areas of the scalp are not as snug as others.

Anyone who is about to start chemo should certainly consider trying the cap if it is available. 

It may not be appropriate as all chemotherapy treatments vary in the way they affect the hair follicles, and the effect it has on the individual patient will also vary. 

The reason I suggest you consider it as an option is that there may be a stage during your treatment when you are feeling physically weak and mentally low, and you look in the mirror at your appearance and might wonder why you never fought harder and tried the cap. 

A lot will depend on how well you understand yourself, because it’s going to be one of the hardest times of your life, and you need to try to predict what’s in front of you and how you will deal with it mentally and physically. 

Different age groups dealing with cancer often face different obstacles during this treatment. 

Older patients are often better at dealing with the mental side of things, as they have more life experience and have become hardened to life. But physically, they are not in their prime and may have other medical problems going on. 

Someone younger is often generally fitter and healthier, and will deal with the physical effects a lot better. But mentally, they seem to struggle a little more. Perhaps it’s the first time they have realised they are not invincible. 

This is what hit Sammy the hardest, often saying she was too young to have breast cancer, and that having cancer is something you get when you are older. 

It was at this point she became fully conscious of young children having to go through a similar situation to her.

Useful Information

There are other caps on the market but I am not familiar with these. Here are some links I found that are worth looking at:  and then search scalp cooling