Scalp cooling; COPD pulmonary rehabilitation

Created date

May 14th, 2019
Dr. Vrinda Suneja, M.D. is the Medical Director, for Fox Run, the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich.

Dr. Suneja received her medical degree at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Sinai Grace Hospital, affiliated with Wayne State Uni. in Detroit, Mich.

Q: Can scalp cooling prevent hair loss from chemotherapy?

A: Cooling the scalp, called scalp hypothermia, has been used to prevent or reduce hair loss for people receiving chemotherapy for a number of years. Whereas the low-tech form of this technique (involving ice packs or nonmechanized cooling caps) has had mixed results in studies, newer high-tech forms have shown some good results. In fact, studies of computer-controlled cooling caps found that at least 50% of women with breast cancer who used them lost less than half of their hair.

The success of scalp hypothermia is contingent upon the type and dose of chemotherapy drugs, and how well a patient tolerates the procedure. Side effects can include headaches, chills, and discomfort in the scalp, neck, and shoulders. If you want to try this technique, weigh the benefits and risks carefully with your oncologist.

 

Q: I have COPD and have been referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation program. What can I expect to do there?

A: Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can be beneficial for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They are usually conducted in hospitals or clinics and taught by a multidisciplinary group of health professionals. You learn details about your disease and also how to strengthen breathing muscles. In addition, you practice the best ways to exercise and learn techniques that can help you get through the day with less shortness of breath.

Nutritional counseling is also an important part of learning to live with COPD because you may need to modify your food choices to maximize your energy. Emotional support is also crucial because anxiety and depression affect a significant number of people with COPD. Much of this support comes from other people in the program who face the same problems as you.

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