St. Stephens Hospital - the Dignicap scalp cooling system - Janette Evans (Clinical Nurse Mgr. Oncology) operates the machine.Photo: Alistair Brightman
St. Stephens Hospital - the Dignicap scalp cooling system - Janette Evans (Clinical Nurse Mgr. Oncology) operates the machine.Photo: Alistair Brightman

COOL HEADS: Cap treatment preserves dignity for patients

ONCOLOGY patients at St Stephen's Hospital at Hervey Bay are able to keep their hair and dignity while undergoing chemotherapy thanks to the region's only cooling cap.

The private hospital has been using the cap for patients over the past 18 months and some patients have been able to retain their hair during the invasive cancer treatment.

Oncology unit clinical nurse manager Janette Evans believes the cap can assist some patients as they manage their treatment.

"The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System minimises hair loss in patients undergoing chemotherapy," she said.

"A patient's hair can be a major part of their identity. For many it is an unwelcome reminder of disease that can negatively affect self-image, confidence, overall sense of wellbeing and a patient's attitude towards treatment."

Research results show that cold caps and scalp cooling systems are highly effective.

The DigniCap is a cooling machine that pumps a liquid coolant through the cap during the treatment and is worn before, during and after the treatment is given.

Feedback from patients about the cap had been positive, Ms Evans said.

"Cooling caps don't work for all chemotherapy drugs and the effectiveness varies from person to person," she said.



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