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Cooling caps helping more cancer patients keep their hair

Posted at 11:25 AM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 15:53:51-05

PARIS, Tenn. (WTVF) — Losing hair after chemotherapy was once an inevitability. Now, cooling technology is helping more and more patients keep their hair and their spirits intact.

Tonya Nash's smile and her hair remains -- even after a breast cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy threatened to take it all away. Nash works in healthcare as a physician assistant, but says she had no idea a cooling cap could save her hair.

"There are two FDA-approved scalp cooling systems in the US," she said.

There are other manual methods being used in Tennessee and cooling caps are not new technology they're used overseas frequently.

"It's been used in Europe for years we're just catching up," she said.

The cap she now uses at the Cancer Care Center, made by Paxman, is the first of its kind in the state.

"There was not one in Tennessee at all," she said.

The process includes wetting the hair and applying a conditioner. Just getting the cap on is it two person job. Nash's husband David helps her get it on her head.

As soon as it's plugged in, the cap gets very very cold. Nash keeps hot chocolate and a heating blanket on-hand during the therapy but says attending her daughter's wedding this summer, with a full head of hair, is the motivation that warms her - from the inside out.