Keeping your hair during chemotherapy is an option.
It’s called the Cold Cap treatment - but it’s expensive and extremely time-consuming.
Leslie Betts, owner of Blowbar in South Tampa, has been actively working with "The Rapunzel Project," a non-profit organization which helps patients pay for the Cold Cap treatment.
Using the cap, according to proponents, can allow women to keep more than half of their hair while undergoing chemotherapy.
"I've had one mother, whose kids are still very young, and the thought of losing her hair - she was afraid it was going to scare them,” said Betts.
Doctors say the cap can work in two ways. It can constrict blood flow, keeping the chemo from reaching the scalp, and it can freeze many of the hair follicles, shutting out the chemo.
Cold cap therapy doesn't work for all chemo drugs, or for cancers carried through the blood like leukemia. It can, however, be used by men, women and some older children.
Betts' main goal with raising money for the non-profit is to provide patients a designated center where they receive chemotherapy. Without the freezers, patients have to transport a cooler filled with dry ice to keep the cold caps chilled to 30-below zero.
"Having the freezers located in the Tampa Bay area is so much more convenient,” said Betts.
As a cap warms, a new one is strapped on tightly every 20 to 30 minutes. This goes on for eight hours and the caps can cost about $500 a month.
Betts has raised money to buy two freezers, one at Tampa General Hospital and the other located at Florida Cancer Specialists.
"If that's the one thing I can do to make it easier for a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife, a daughter, I take full pride in that,” she said.
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