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New Technology At TMH Reduces Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Picture of Karen Russell in white lab coat
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare
TMH Oncologist Dr. Karen Russell

Cancer chemotherapy often means serious hair loss, but many patients may be spared that as the result of a new device that looks a little like a World War II aviator's cap.

For cancer patients on chemotherapy, hair loss is often a dreaded result of the treatment. But there's a new tool at Tallahassee Memorial's Cancer Center to reduce hair loss for many of those patients.

TMH Medical Oncologist Dr. Karen Russell said the Dignicap technology is actually pretty simple.

"The tool sends coolant to the scalp. It's kind of a cap-and-flap system that almost looks like a combination of the old aviator's cap that goes over the ears and a swimmer's cap."

That coolant, she explains, shrinks the blood vessels to the hair follicles, which reduces the amount of chemo reaching and destroying the follicles.

"The patient wears it each time they receive their treatment and so the goal of that is not no hair loss, but it's to keep more than 50 percent of your hair."

Which she said typically appears like no hair loss at all. Still, she cautioned it's not for every patient and their doctor has the final say on whether or not it's a solution in any given case.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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