Kerri Pinna was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer on the 7th of March 2018. The days after Kerri’s diagnosis were filled with a series of appointments, consults and a mountain of information to take in.
“I was frozen when I was told, especially when it was metastatic. Your world just comes to a stop, you don’t know what to think. But I just wanted to get on and try and get through it,” Kerri said.
After a lumpectomy, her post-operation results found the margins weren’t clear and a PET-CT scan found a number of cancerous spots on her spine. She was then referred to Icon Wesley where she would start chemotherapy once a week.
During her chemotherapy treatment, Kerri was able to use the cold cap (otherwise known as scalp cooling). Cold caps aim to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy for certain cancers.
Many chemotherapy drugs work by targeting rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is one of these, and the chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss by directly harming the hair follicles. This hair loss can be alleviated by using scalp cooling, or ‘cold caps’. The system works by reducing the temperature of the patient’s scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. The cooling effect reduces the blood flow to hair follicles and can therefore minimise hair loss.
The innovative Paxman scalp cooling system can be used for patients with breast and other solid tumour cancers being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs such as docetaxel, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin.
For Kerri, being able to use this technology allowed her to gain some control during her treatment.
“I have lots of thick way hair. For me, using the caps was definitely well worth it,” Kerri said.