Hair Loss and Cancer – Chemotherapy Does Not Need to Lead to Hair Loss Anymore

Hair Loss and cancer – as if the dreaded disease isn’t bad enough it usually comes with the added burden of hair loss. So when the news hit the world of a new device that helps cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy, cancer patients everywhere felt there might be a small amount of relief to everything they already have to deal with.

DigniCap is the name of the device that is supposed to revolutionize hair loss during chemotherapy. It is a scalp cooling system that offers patients the possibility of keeping all or most of their hair during chemotherapy. According to DigniCap, the cooling system was approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. in December 2015.

Modern medicine has come a long way when it comes to handling the side effects of chemotherapy, making many aspects of the treatment manageable for the patients. But hair loss has been one of the side effects that for a long time was unavoidable. Many patients going through chemotherapy has said that they do not like the fact that hair loss makes it so obvious to others that they are are sick.

Dr. Saranya Chumsri, an oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, a clinic that now offers their patients DigniCap, said in an interview for the local paper that many patients do not want to be reminded they have cancer.

“Even though they, most of the time, feel really well, the fact that they don’t have hair reminds them every single day that they have cancer and are on chemotherapy. With the DigniCap system, just the fact they can keep their hair makes a whole world of difference,” said Dr Chumsri.

 

How Dignicap Works When Dealing with Cancer and Hair Loss

The DigniCap scalp cooling system is a tight-fitting silicone cooling cap. The cap is placed directly on the head of the person. And an outer cap is placed on the first silicone cap, and insulates and secures it.

The cap is connected to a cooler, where liquid coolant circulates throughout the silicone cap, delivering cooling to all areas of the scalp. Before the patients put on the cap, they wet their hair, and sometimes, when the treatment is done, they can actually find ice crystals in their hair. The temperature of the scalp is lowered and the scalp is kept cold, and because of that, less chemotherapy makes it to the scalp.

These are the factors that reduce the risk of hair loss. What determines how long the patients will be attached to the DigniCap, is the treatment that they are getting. But it usually last from four to seven hours.

Dignicap and hair loss
More and more clinics are integrating Dignicap as part of the post-cancer treatment.

Still Unattainable for Most People

Even though DigniCap is revolutionizing the battle of cancer and hair loss, it is still a tool that is mainly for those who can afford it. Using DigniCap is not cheap. In fact, it costs about $400 for each treatment.

Other problems that have been reported are that some of the patients get a headache from the cap, and that the strap on the cap can give some patients irritations on the chin. Nonetheless, more and more clinics are integrating DigniCap as part of their post-cancer treatment, making it a great development when it comes to cancer and hair loss.

William Cronin, the Chief Executive Officer of Dignitana Inc, the company that produces DigniCap, says in an article that he is honored to make a real difference for cancer patients who fear losing their hair to chemotherapy.

“As more and more centers like the Mayo Clinic integrate new innovations like the DigniCap system into their cancer care regimens, we move closer and closer to the day when that fear is a thing of the past,” he comments.

 

Impotence and Suicidal Thoughts – Propecia Side Effects You Should Know About

What are the side effects of propecia?

Propecia is a common hair loss medication containing the drug finasteride, but it’s success may come with a price. Merck, the pharmaceutical company which developed finasteride, has been accused of downplaying some scary side effects. The company has also claimed these negative effects would be reversed after ceasing to use the medication, something that’s turned out not to be the case for everyone.

What Merck Didn’t Want You to Know

In 2015, researchers published a study revealing that using finasteride triples the risk of becoming impotent, even if on low doses. Finasteride also increases the likelihood of needing prescriptions for sexual-performance medications by almost fivefold. Some of Propecia’s side effects include erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders, swelling of the hands and feet, skin rashes and dizziness. But it can also affect the user’s mental state, causing depression and suicidal thoughts.

Merck has been the target of some 1,400 lawsuits—some of which were presented in court during the fall of 2016. A New York judge selected the most outstanding of those cases to represent the larger group. According to the World Health Organization, another 69 men have committed suicide as a consequence of using the drug. So it seems this medication could not only render you impotent but also make you want to end your life. While it’s true that these side-effects don’t happen to the majority of users—are the risks worth it?

Side effects of using propecia
One of Propecia’s side-effects includes mental changes, caused by a decrease in the production of DHT, upsetting the production of other hormones in the brain.

Propecia Side Effects—the Study

Scientists aren’t completely sure how Propecia side effects arise but they have something to do with the enzyme type II 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into its most active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT is a strong contributing factor to male pattern baldness and also can lead to enlargement of the prostate. Finasteride works by diminishing DHT levels in the body. At first the drug was only used as a treatment for prostate cancer until it was discovered that it also had a positive effect on patients’ hair growth, Propecia was developed and marketed specifically for that purpose.

However, some men experience severe side effects. In a 2015 study of 4900 men taking finasteride, 577 of them reported persistent sexual dysfunction. Thirty-nine experienced suicidal tendencies.

New Information

According to new research, mental changes while taking Propecia are a result of the decrease in the production of DHT, which disrupts the production of other hormones in the brain. According to New York neuroendocrinologist Alan Jacobs, the drug can lead to hormones like cortisol and progesterone turning into “neurosteroids” which have important behavioral purposes. This could lead the brain to exacerbate sexual problems and cause the user to become depressed or suicidal.

As early as 2012, patients began reporting serious side effects from Propecia. That lead Merck to finally start including on the label that “in some cases” the sexual side effects “continued after discontinuation of treatment.” The company also added depression as a potential side effect on the label. Interestingly, by this time, Propecia labels had already been changed in Sweden and some other European countries. Patients there started reporting persistent side effects as early as 2008. But for U.S. male patients, Merck waited until the FDA had received 421 reports of sexual dysfunction before they updated their labels.

What’s in store for Merck and Propecia use as a result of these lawsuits is yet to be seen. Ted Laszlo, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, thinks the possibility that Propecia will be discontinued is low. The plaintiffs are only seeking monetary damages and he believes their case is strong.

“Merck introduced a drug that they knew could cause sexual dysfunction in users, and they soon learned that in some users the symptoms did not resolve,” he says in an interview in Vice. “With that knowledge, they continued to market the drug for years saying that if you stopped using it, the symptoms would go away. They hid their knowledge.”

What is Hair Cloning? All You Need to Know, and Whether or not it Works

hair cloning

The concept of hair cloning is a hair restoration method currently being researched. As more people suffer from hair loss, new techniques to battle this problem arise, and some methods of performing hair cloning or hair multiplication have come far enough to soon pass from their laboratory testing phases into their clinical phase. Here we go through what the most high-tech cure for hair loss actually does.

The Difference Between Hair Cloning and Hair Multiplication

The method of hair cloning means that a doctor extracts healthy hair follicle cells from the patient’s scalp and clones them in vitro. The larger amount of healthy cells are then returned to the scalp to grow hair as normal.

Hair multiplication, on the other hand, means that the actual follicles are plucked from the scalp and reinserted. The hope is that the cells at the base of each hair will then generate new follicles that produce hair.

How Far Has Research Come?

Research on hair cloning has been successful in rodents. As of now, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved cell cloning for use on humans in the U.S.

However, many researchers are hopeful that the technique will be available for patients in the near future. Hair restoration specialist Dr. Ken Williams, based in Irvine, California, is collaborating with British company Hair Clone. Britain is currently the only Western country that allows hair cloning as a practice on humans. Clinical trials are underway.

“The typical candidate would be someone who has had multiple surgeries and can’t have any more hair transplantations, but they have lots of areas of balding,” Williams said in an interview in April. For an individual patient, the trial treatment would cost between $4,000 and $10,000  – and they would also have to fly to England.

Risks With the Treatment

Critics of this treatment point out that hair cloning induces the risk that the cells mutate and could turn cancerous. The FDA will not approve hair cloning as a medical treatment until that risk is minimized.

However, once approved, hair cloning would be an attractive alternative to many people as it doesn’t cause any visible scarring. The procedure is quick, and any results would be permanent.

Hair cloning
Hair cloning is simply extracting healthy hair follicle cells from the scalp and cloning them. The method, however, still awaits approval from the FDA.

Natural Solutions

Nutrafol is a natural nutraceutical supplement that provides essential nutrients for supporting healthy hair growth from within and developed by people who suffered from hair loss themselves.

 

Whichever path you choose, there are many ways to improve hair health. You just have to find yours.