Preparing for chemotherapy can be an emotionally challenging process. Most of the preparation you'll need to do is mental and emotional. You'll want to take time to relax and focus and to talk to your family members about what's to come. You also need to make some decisions, however. One of those decisions is whether or not you'll wear a cold cap during chemo.
A cold cap is a cooling device that some patients wear on their heads during chemo. The cap is designed to reduce the impact of chemo on your hair follicles and hopefully help you keep your hair throughout the treatment period. But is wearing a cold cap right for you? Take a look at these pros and cons to decide.
Pros: Cold caps are quite effective.
This is not a fly-by-night method that you're trying just in case. Cold caps are quite effective. Although some patients still lose a little hair during chemo when wearing the cold cap, most people retain far, far more hair than they would otherwise. If you really don't want to lose hair during chemo, this is the most reliable way to combat that side effect.
Con: Cold caps make you cold.
Undergoing chemo is not exactly the most comfortable thing. You'll feel nauseous and uncomfortable. The cold cap can make you chilly on top of that. You can combat this by wrapping yourself in more blankets, of course, but for some patients, being cold is just not worth it. But if you're someone who doesn't mind the cold, then a cold cap might be for you.
Pro: There are no serious side effects.
Other than feeling cold while you're undergoing chemo, there are no serious side effects of cold caps. They're not a medical remedy, after all — they're just an ice pack for your head. This is something you can do without safety concerns.
Con: Insurance does not always cover the cost of cold caps.
Cold caps are not considered essential for cancer treatment, and as such, many health insurance companies don't cover the cost of these supportive devices. You may pay a couple hundred dollars for a cold cap, and you need at least two of them as you have to rotate them and put a new one on partway through your chemo to ensure your head stays cold.
If you can manage the cost and don't mind being chilly, cold caps are an excellent option for patients who don't want to lose hair during chemo. Talk to a professional to learn more about cold caps.