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European Society for Medical Oncology Clinical Practice Guidelines Recommend Scalp Cooling to Prevent Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia

December 17, 2020

European Society for Medical Oncology, the leading professional organization for medical oncology, has updated the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Dermatological Toxicities Related to Anticancer Agents to include the recommendation of scalp cooling for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) as a Category IIB recommendation.

A multidisciplinary group of experts from institutions and countries across Europe, the USA, and Australia authored the updated guidelines.

The adoption of this recommendation by the European Society for Medical Oncology follows the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Clinical Practice Guidelines in oncology for breast cancer (Version 1.2019) update in 2019 to include scalp cooling as a Category 2A recommendation, and subsequently the Clinical Practice Guidelines in oncology for Ovarian Cancer, Fallopian Tube Cancer and Primary Peritoneal
Cancer (Version 1.2020) along with the updated ‘Guidance for the management of early breast cancer’ by Cancer Australia earlier this year.

British Scalp cooling expert Paxman, whose pioneering cold cap system has helped over 100,000 cancer patients worldwide to retain their hair during chemotherapy – welcomed the recommendation and its wider potential for positive change.

Richard Paxman, CEO of Paxman, commented: “Clinical Practice Guidelines effectively determine standards of care around the world and this adoption by the European Society for Medical Oncology will work towards a positive change in the supportive cancer care landscape. Paxman is the scalp cooling provider for many leading cancer centers throughout Europe and this update will serve to the continuation of our international mission in eliminating hair loss from chemotherapy and thus change the face of cancer.”

Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is widely recognized as one of the most traumatic side effects associated with cancer treatment. Scalp cooling, or the ‘cold cap’, works by lowering scalp temperature before, during, and after the administration of chemotherapy to alleviate the damage caused to the hair follicle, thus helping patients to retain their hair during treatment.

Paxman’s Scalp Cooling System provides a clinically proven hair loss prevention system for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The system is used at a large number of cancer centers and hospitals in Europe, North-, Central- and South America, Asia, and Oceania, and is responsible for helping patients keep their hair and retain normality during cancer treatment.

Of the various interventions proposed for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia, scalp cooling has emerged as the most effective(1). However, clinicians are advised that in the case of limited prophylactic or therapeutic options to prevent, or treat, alopecia, it is essential to inform patients about this adverse event before commencing therapy and to speak about aids. The Guidelines also note that scalp cooling may be less effective with anthracycline-containing regimens.

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