Cold Cap Therapy

The hair loss that often comes with chemotherapy can be very upsetting. In some ways, it is the most obvious sign that you have cancer. At the Dubin Center, we offer cold cap therapy to reduce or prevent hair loss. This approach cools your scalp to a very low temperatures (-22 degrees Fahrenheit), which constricts blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp. This reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach and are absorbed by the hair follicles. As a result, hair may be less likely to fall out. You may find that keeping your hair offers hope, keeps your energy levels high, helps you maintain privacy, and enhances your self-image. Cold cap therapy is recommended for select chemotherapy regimens and diagnoses. Before you start cold cap therapy, make sure to speak with your physician and clinical team.

We offer two types of cold cap therapy at the Dubin Breast Center:

1. Penguin Caps: We place these specially designed caps on your head to cool your scalp. The length of time depends on your own treatment. Here are the details:

  • The caps are robust yet soft and malleable at extremely cold temperatures. They contour to fit your head.
  • Currently, Penguin Cold Cap rental fees are supported by philanthropy and the generous support of the Marisa Acocella Marchetto Foundation. This means that even if your insurance does not cover this technology, you can still enjoy its benefits.
  • We store the cold caps in a sub-zero freezer located within the infusion suite.
  • You will need to bring someone with you to your treatment appointments who can change out the cap every 20 to 30 minutes sothe cap stays at the correct temperature.
  • Changing out the cold caps can be done by a friend, family member or a cold cap technician.
  • You can hire a cold cap technicians to consult with the patient, friend or family members, teaching them how to use the cold caps. You can also hire a technician for all your treatments. Please note that you must hire a cold cap technicians directly; they do not work for The Mount Sinai Hospital or the Dubin Breast Center.
  • Your hair will remain dry during treatment.
  • You must start to use the cold cap about an hour before the hair loss-inducing chemotherapy. You need to keep it on throughout treatment and for an estimated two to three hours after treatment.
  • Penguin Cold Cap will provide you with instructions for use.
  • You will need to sign a consent form before you use the Penguin Cold Cap. 

Our clinical coordinators can help you find a cold cap technician. These technicians are third-party consultants that you can hire to assist you with your Penguin Cold Cap treatment. It is up to you to decide if you want or need to hire a cold cap technician. All technicians charge a different fee depending on a variety of factors including number of treatments, and length of regimen. The Dubin Breast Center does not keep a list of these fees, nor do we set the pricing. You can choose to hire a technician for the entire length of treatment or hire just for the first treatment, so they can teach your relative or friend how to use the cap. You and your family members or friends can also figure out how to use the cap on your own. Penguin Cold Caps will provide you with information and instructions for use once you decide to use their therapy.

2. Dignicap Machine: This is a machine that provides continuous scalp cooling. You place a fitted silicone cap on your head, which is connected to a cooling and control unit.

  • The cooling unit acts like a refrigerator, cooling the cap. Circulation is controlled by temperature sensors housed in the cap and regulated by valves. This enables the system to self-regulate, providing constant and stable cooling.
  • The silicone cap is at room temperature when first put on your head, and then gradually cools down.
  • Your hair must be wet during treatment.
  • Dubin Breast Center staff operate the Dignicap equipment.
  • You begin using the Dignicap about an hour before you start chemotherapy. You keep it on throughout treatment, and for an estimated two to three hours after treatment.
  • You must sign a consent form before using the Dignicap machine.

For more information on cold cap therapy, please call Stephanie Roldan, Practice Manager, at 212-241-3776, or Katherine Fitzpatrick, Assistant Nurse Manager, at 212-241-3760.