Cover Story

DigniCap Reducing hair loss during Chemotherapy

“DigniCap offers the chance to minimize chemotherapy induced hair loss for men and women with solid tumor undergoing chemotherapy. Most patients who use DigniCap will see a significant reduction in the amount of hair loss from chemotherapy. However, shedding should be expected and is normal for patients using scalp cooling. The amount of shedding experienced will vary from patient to patient”

Chemotherapy is a common treatment advised to patients when their cells reproduce in an uncontrollable manner leading to cancer. It is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill rapidly growing cells in the body.

Though chemo is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, it also carriers a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications. Among the risk factors include hair loss. For many hair loss us a symbol to the world that you have cancer. Hair loss occurs because of the strong drugs in the therapy that rapidly attack the cells and at the same time also attack other rapidly growing cells in the body such as hairs.

Chemo therapy may cause hair loss all over the body (eye brows, eye lashes, body hair) etc., and not just on the scalp and different doses can cause anything from thinning to complete baldness.

Dignitana, a Swedish medical technology company recently developed, produced and marketed the DigniCap cooling system, a patented medical cooling device that offers cancer patients the ability to minimize hair loss during chemotherapy to improve well-being and quality of life.

Melissa Bourestom, VP Marketing of Dignitana explains to us how their DigniCap cooling system is a proven approach to a reduce hair loss from certain chemotherapy treatments.

What is a scalp cooling system? Can you tell us in detail about its treatment?

Scalp cooling is a proven way to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy that has been used successfully by thousands of patients worldwide for several decades. In this treatment, the scalp is cooled while cytostatic drugs are being administered. Two reactions occur during scalp cooling:

Reduced blood flow

Vasoconstriction (caused by cooling) in the scalp area limits the amount of chemotherapy agent delivered to the hair follicles.

Reduced Absorption

When the scalp temperature is lowered, the follicles absorb less of the drugs.

Tell us in detail about Dignicap? How does it promote hair regrowth?

The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System consists of a computerized cooling unit managed through a touch screen display and an attached cooling cap. Temperature regulated coolant continuously circulates though specially designed channels in the cooling cap. The ability to maintain continuous, direct contact between the cooling cap and scalp for a consistent treatment temperature is a key factor in the effectiveness of DigniCap.

There are 2 models of The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System, the NEW DigniCap Delta and DigniCap C3. Both systems provide effective scalp cooling, but the machine, caps and business models are different.

Who is DigniCap scalp cooling for?

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy for solid tumors, upon recommendation of physician. The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System is used during each cycle of chemotherapy administration. Scalp cooling should begin with the first infusion of any chemotherapy that causes hair loss.

Most patients tolerate scalp cooling with The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System very well. Common side effects include a feeling of coldness, headache, scalp pain and/or light-headedness. Your doctor can provide a pain reliever if you develop a headache. A warm drink and blanket can also help during treatments.

Scalp cooling is a proven approach to reduce chemotherapy-induced alopecia that has been used successfully by thousands of patients worldwide with a variety of cancers and chemotherapy regimens. Dignitana´s multi-site scalp cooling study proved that scalp cooling is a safe and effective method for reducing the risk of chemotherapy- induced hair loss in women with breast cancer. However, almost everyone can expect to experience some degree of hair loss during chemotherapy.

Outcomes are dependent on several factors including the chemotherapy regimen, dose, duration of drug infusion, chemotherapy drug metabolism and concomitant comorbidities.

How does Dignicap offer patients to maintain privacy and self-esteem through- out chemo?

Keeping your hair helps many cancer patients feel that they have a sense of control over their cancer. For many, hair is a big part of their identity, so they feel that being able to keep their hair, helps them feel more like themselves—and helps them not LOOK sick, which is important to some mothers with small children and also to some people who are still going to work during their treatments—they feel more confident, some say, at work.

How does DigniCap encourage a positive attitude towards the treatment?

DigniCap offers the chance to minimize chemotherapy induced hair loss for men and women with solid tumor undergoing chemotherapy. Most patients who use DigniCap will see a significant reduction in the amount of hair loss from chemotherapy. However, shedding should be expected and is normal for patients using scalp cooling. The amount of shedding experienced will vary from patient to patient.

Chemotherapy may cause scalp irritation, make the hair dry, brittle, and more difficult to manage. Handling your hair gently during treatment and for several months after you complete your chemotherapy regimen may help reduce the amount of shedding and maintain your hair quality.

Describe its technological advancements?

DigniCap is the only scalp cooling system with patented dual sensors in the cooling compartments for consistent cooling and temperature management, plus a built-in safety sensor to ensure scalp temperature always stays above 32°F / 0°C. Patients in a multi-center study filled out an Alopecia Self-Report questionnaire. Results clearly showed that 101 patients who had an average of3.6 cycles of chemotherapy and used TheDigniCap Scalp Cooling System were satisfied with the decision to use scalp cooling and expressed higher satisfaction with their hair quantity as compared to controls. In contrast, the 16 patients in the control grop had an average of 1.5 cycles before discontinuing reporting due to hair loss.

Women with breast cancer receiving scalp cooling using DigniCap versus the control in a multi-center clinical trial answered a Patient Satisfaction with Scalp Cooling survey were:
⦁ Significantly less likely to lose ≥ 50% of their hair
⦁ Felt significantly more physically attractive
⦁ Significantly less dis satisfied with their appearance when dressed
⦁ Regarded importance of hair significantly more

In your opinion why does hair loss occur during chemo and how does Dignicap help?

Alopecia is a common side effect of the cytostatic drugs given during chemotherapy. Cytostatics work by actively targeting rapidly dividing cells, and hair follicles are some of the fastest growing cells in the body. Because chemotherapy cannot distinguish between normal rapidly dividing cells and cancerous cells, the hair follicles are often affected.

Chemotherapy affects cells that are in the phase of division or growth. All the cells in the body may be affected by chemotherapy, not just the cancer cells. This means that even healthy cells, especially cells with a high growth rate, such as your hair, are likely to be affected by the chemotherapy.

In your opinion is chemo the only process where hair loss occurs? Are there other ways were hair loss also takes place? Can Dignicap solve those as well?

DigniCap clearance is for use during chemotherapy when a drug is introduced into the system over a short period of time. The mechanism of the cooling for hair preservation would therefore not apply to other forms of alopecia