Supporting confidence and comfort for patients with cancer

We are raising money for two desperately needed scalp cooling units, to help patients to preserve their hair during chemotherapy. We need to raise £30,000 for two units.

Why scalp cooling matters

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for patients with cancer, but it often leads to hair loss, which can have significant emotional and psychological effects.

Hair loss is consistently ranked among the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy, impacting self esteem and body image. 

In fact, it is estimated that 8% of people refuse chemotherapy to avoid losing their hair.

Patient During Scalp Cooling.jpg

What is scalp cooling?

Scalp cooling is a process in which a specialised cap is worn during chemotherapy to reduce hair loss and the likelihood of alopecia, by minimising the impact of chemotherapy drugs on hair follicles. Studies show that scalp cooling can hugely alleviate hair loss, and speed up regrowth post treatment, although outcomes vary by treatment type.

The need at UCLH

Currently, the availability of scalp cooling units at UCLH is very limited due to their cost and high demand from patients. With two of the existing scalp cooling units set to be decommissioned, the clinical team has requested our support in purchasing replacement scalp cooling machines.

A patient's perspective

We were initially approached by Nikki, a patient who previously successfully cold capped during treatment, but had been unable to do so for her current treatment round due to limited availability.

“When I first ‘cold capped’ in 2017, it worked well for me, although I still lost quite a lot of hair, which was distressing enough. This time around, I’m keen to use the cold cap again, and it’s stressful worrying whether it’s going to be possible to access one. There is clearly a need for this service, and it would mean a huge amount to me to be able to help my fellow patients.”

Our campaign

These machines are essential in helping patients like Nikki maintain their confidence and identity throughout their treatment journey. At £15,000 each per scalp cooling unit, they are a significant cost. We are launching this fundraising campaign to raise £30,000 for two new scalp cooling units and are seeking support from individuals and companies, especially those with employee gift matching programs.

Your support can make a significant difference in the lives of many cancer patients. Please consider donating to our campaign or getting involved in other ways

Donate: Every contribution, no matter the size, brings us closer to our goal.

Share: Spread the word about our campaign on social media and within your community.

Corporate Support: If your company offers employee gift matching, your donation could be doubled.

Cooling the Scalp

The scalp is cooled before, during, and after chemotherapy using special caps or machines that circulate cold liquid.

Blood Flow Reduction

Cooling makes the blood vessels in the scalp smaller, reducing blood flow to the hair follicles. This means less chemotherapy drug reaches the hair follicles, protecting them from damage. The cold slows down the activity of hair follicle cells, making them less vulnerable to the chemotherapy drugs.

Scalp cooling is suitable for many patients, and may be used by people with any type of hair, but there are some exclusions. For example, it can only be used with certain chemotherapy drugs, and is not suitable for patients with haematological cancers, or medical conditions such as being sensitive to the cold.

Results vary by patient; some people keep most of their hair, whereas other still lose some. Many patients report reduced hair loss, and quicker regrowth of hair following chemotherapy. Even in cases where the scalp cooling doesn't work, patients often report that they are grateful for having had the option to try, and feel it was worth it.


Learn More and Get Involved

For more information about scalp cooling, who can use it, and its effectiveness, or to get involved in our campaign, please contact us at cancerfund@uclh.nhs.uk