A new machine which helps prevent hair loss in cancer patients has been introduced to hospitals.
Both the Western Infirmary in Edinburgh and St John’s Hospital in Livingston have installed the Scalp Cooler.
The machine was invented by a man who had watched his wife lose her hair as she received chemotherapy for breast cancer.
It can prevent hair loss by reducing the flow of blood to the scalp, which limits the amount of chemotherapy drugs that come into contact with hair follicles.
The coolers were bought with money raised from the Edinburgh Moonwalk which raised more than £2m for breast cancer in 2011.
Claire Paxman runs the company on behalf of her father, and saw for herself how traumatic hair loss can be.
She said: “For me personally, at 14 years old, I actually cut all her hair off in the bathroom. My father wanted to understand what scalp cooling was and how it worked. Unfortunately we lost my mum, so it puts it into perspective and every time we supply a scalp cooler her legacy lives on.”
At the hospitals, staff have already seen the benefit the machines bring to patients.
Charge nurse Julie Reid said: “They are a massive benefit to patients who will be able to use them during their cancer treatment because obviously it’s more evident to people that they are under going treatment when they have no hair.”
Consultant Oncologist Larry Hayward added: “Obviously the most important thing is to control the cancer, get rid of it if we can but allowing patients to get on with life is normal whilst they have what’s otherwise quite complicated treatment is going to be a huge advantage.”