Keep Your Hair With Scalp Cooling (“Cold Cap Therapy”) During Chemotherapy

Girl with red hairIf you want to try to keep your hair during chemotherapy read this article. I wish more oncologists would tell their patients about this incredibly simple hair saving technique, but unfortunately many are either unaware of how effective it is or are uniformed believing it might cause you harm. 

Hair loss is a distressing and common side effect of chemotherapy that can be reduced by scalp cooling. For over 15 years (mainly in Europe), patients have been using scalp “cold cap therapy” (CCT or scalp cooling) to keep their hair from falling out during chemotherapy. Recent studies have indicated that cold cap therapy can prevent hair loss in up to 90% of those using it during chemotherapy.

CCT is not yet approved by the U.S. FDA, but that has not deterred thousands of patients from using it in the U.S. and clinical trials are underway at hospitals across the U.S. Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for the results of this trial as many cancer centers are getting the word that they need to offer this to their patients or their patients may go elsewhere.

I was skeptical that this could even work…until I saw it with my own eyes.

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About Brian D. Lawenda, M.D.

I am an integrative oncologist. I trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) in radiation oncology and through Stanford-UCLA (Helms Medical Institute) in medical acupuncture. I am the founder of IntegrativeOncology-Essentials.


  1. Great information, thanks for writing this blog post. I’ll be sharing this information with our clients on our blog.

  2. Charlotte Gyllenhaal says:

    The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois, offers Cold Cap treatment

  3. Dear Dr Lewanda,
    I am the Penguin Cold Caps representative who actually helped your sister with using the PCC’s. I recognized her from the photos you posted. I am so glad this worked out so well for her! I am also a breast cancer survivor and I successfully used Penguin Cold Caps in 2011 and saved my hair. Since then I have helped 100’s of women like your sister do the same. Just to let you know there are lots of hospitals in my area that now have the Penguin freezers:
    Santa Monica UCLA, CA (both of the infusion centers there)
    Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA
    UCLA Westwood, 100 Medical Plaza Building
    Disney Cancer Center in Burbank, CA
    UCLA in Santa Clarita, CA
    The Angeles Clinic, Santa Monica, CA
    Los Robles Hospital, Thousand Oaks, CA
    If you or anyone else would like to contact me directly please email me. I handle all the chemo patients in the Los Angeles area.
    Thanks, Tricia Strong

    • Hi Tricia, Thank you for helping so many patients save their hair! I’m very impressed with all the centers in L.A. that have Penguin Freezers. The Rapunzel Organization contacted me after reading this post, and they are donating a freezer to our practice (21st Century Oncology, Las Vegas.) We are very excited to be able to offer this for our patients! -Best, Brian Lawenda

  4. Maureen O'Connor says:

    Hello–Not quite a year ago,I used the Penguin Cold Caps at MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Young Lee, Chief of Oncology there has purchased a freezer for the caps and is raising money so that more women can benefit from this treatment. It worked WONDERS for me! Here are two news clips on my experience that I thought would interest you. Please spread the word! It means soooo much! Thank you, thank you!


  5. Thank you for sharing this Maureen.

  6. The Meredith and Jeannie Ray cancer center at Ivinson memorial hospital in Laramie, wy now has the medical freezer! I’m the first patient at the cancer center to us cct, and they are incredibly supportive!

  7. The University of Colorado Hospital (Aurora, CO) got a freezer via the Rapunzel Project April 2014

  8. Please please please get these cold caps approved by the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, BC, Canada! we desperatley need them!

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