A WARRINGTON mum, who used a ground-breaking scalp cooling treatment to keep her hair during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, is sharing her story to help others.
In October 2017, Tracey Savage found out she had stage 2 ovarian cancer whilst undergoing treatment for a suspicious pelvic mass. She was devastated to find out that hair loss was a side effect of her cancer treatment, however insisted she wasn’t going to lose it without a fight.
Tracey was treated at The Lilac Centre based at St Helen’s Hospital, where she wore the Paxman Scalp Cooling System before, during and after her chemotherapy sessions.
The mum of three kept most of her hair throughout her treatment; something that helped her remain positive and, in her opinion, achieve positive results.
“When I found out I would lose my hair during chemotherapy I was truly devastated,” said Tracey. “I had researched about the Paxman scalp cooler and I knew that I was going to give it a go, no matter what. There was no way I was going to lose my long hair without a fight.”
Hair loss is a well-known side effect of many chemotherapy regimens, with many patients claiming it is the most traumatic aspect of their treatment.
Scalp cooling provides the only real alternative to hair loss resulting in a high level of retention or complete hair preservation, improving patients’ self-confidence and creating positive attitudes towards treatment.
Tracey said: “I took 2 paracetamols about half an hour before the cold cap went on and wore a stretchy headband just to cover my hairline and top of my ears. For the first 5 minutes I felt a slight tight, cold feeling to my scalp which was a bit uncomfortable but nothing I couldn’t handle.”
Going forward, Tracey wants to share her story in a bid to help others who may be going through a similar experience.
She will also be volunteering at the chemo unit where she was treated, to offer support and advice to people.
For example, some of the tips that Tracey picked up during her scalp cooling experience was to comb your hair twice a day with a wide tooth comb and tie long hair back with a soft scrunchie at night.
She also invested in a silk pillowcase to sleep on and only washed her hair once a week, letting it dry naturally.
She added: “It was always traumatic that weekly hair wash, as I was always expecting it to fall out but thankfully it never did. All I lost was strands, never clumps.
“Overall, I can honestly say my experience with the cap has been amazing. I feel so passionate about getting awareness out there about scalp cooling as I am proof that it can work.
“I was able to still look like me all the way through this horrendous journey and I could keep my illness private.
“I didn’t want to be seen as a cancer victim, especially in front of my children. I cannot thank Paxman enough for making this horrendous experience much more bearable.”
The Paxman Scalp Cooling System is the world-leading hair loss prevention system for chemotherapy patients.
It has been used by over 100,000 patients, in 32 countries and is responsible for helping patients to keep their hair and retain normality during chemotherapy.
The cap works by lowering scalp temperature before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy.