Hair intact thanks to chemo cap trial
CARLISLE resident Belinda Evans was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year, but thanks to her participation in a research trial she says she never felt like a real cancer patient.
Ms Evans, a forensic scientist with Curtin University, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October.
After mammograms, biopsies and ultrasounds, doctors confirmed she was living with oestrogen receptive breast cancer.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I didn’t cry,” Ms Evans said.
“Although it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, it wasn’t until the MRI results that confirmed I would need a mastectomy that I got emotional.”
In November, medical oncologist and vice-chair of Breast Cancer Research Centre (BCRC) Arlene Chan recommended Ms Evans undergo chemotherapy.
“Prof. Chan wanted me to start chemotherapy before Christmas but I didn’t want to go bald before then, so I organised to commence treatment in January,” Ms Evans said.
“Before I saw Professor Chan in January, a friend of mine had tagged me on Facebook about the DigniCap.
“It looked interesting but at the time I mistakenly thought it was only available in the US, so I didn’t give it too much more thought.”
DigniCap is a device that cools the scalp during chemotherapy, reduces blood flow and slows down normal hair follicle cell activity.
Meanwhile, Ms Evans took control of her own hair loss and hosted a shaving party with her friends ahead of her treatment.
Despite having shaved her head, Professor Chan said there could still be a possibility Ms Evans could retain some of her hair if she participated in the BCRC WA Chemotherapy Induced Alopecia (CIA) trial which used the DigniCap.
“I had come to terms with d455475 the likelihood of losing my hair to chemo, so when Professor Chan explained I could enter the trial and potentially not lose my hair I was really excited,” Ms Evans said.
“The CIA researchers were also keen to investigate whether the DigniCap would work for me given I had just shaved my head.”
Ms Evans said she did not experience any hair loss for the first three weeks of chemotherapy. After four weeks her hair was eight millimetres long and after nine weeks it was 27mm long.
The treatment finished in March and Ms Evans said she found she had minimal hair loss overall.
“My hair is now quite thick and straight with a bit of a wave,” Ms Evans said.