Technology known as ‘cold capping’ and ‘scalp cooling’ has been used in Europe for years but is relatively new in this country. Simply put, it helps cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, the treatments are pricey and not covered by insurance. Meet the heros of HairToStay, a non-profit that helps subsidize this treatment for low-income patients. (To qualify for a subsidy of up to $1,000, most patients must be at or ‘below three times the federal poverty level.’ According to 2018 federal poverty levels, that’s ‘an annual income at or below $36,420 for a one-person household or an annual income at or below $75,300 for a household of four’.)

To date, HairToStay has raised over $1M and has awarded subsidies to over 600 patients nationally. For women especially, losing one’s hair can be devastating.




How does it work?

Cooling the scalp during chemotherapy is thought to prevent hair loss by affecting two cellular processes: (1) Blood flow to hair follicle cells is reduced, therefore exposing them to less chemotherapy medications, and (2) the rate of cellular metabolism is slowed, thereby reducing the effect of whatever chemo medication is present.

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