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Mount Sinai South Nassau Offers “Cold-Cap” Therapy to Reduce Hair Loss During Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Major pledge from Rockville Centre Breast Cancer Coalition supports program

Posted: Oct. 10, 2023
Mount Sinai South Nassau Offers “Cold-Cap” Therapy to Reduce Hair Loss During Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

To reduce hair loss during chemotherapy for breast cancer and alleviate the negative influence it can have on patients’ emotions and outlook, Mount Sinai South Nassau Breast Health Services is offering the DigniCap System to provide scalp-cooling therapy to eligible patients.

Hair loss is one of the most psychologically distressing adverse effects of chemotherapy for patients. Minimizing hair loss helps patients improve their quality of life and self-esteem while undergoing treatment. Cold-cap therapy has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce hair loss from some chemotherapy drugs.

Mount Sinai South Nassau is committed to ensuring no patient is denied access to cold-cap therapy due to cost concerns. The Rockville Centre Breast Cancer Coalition has pledged $15,000 per year for the next three years to support Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Breast Health Services cold-cap therapy program. In addition to the coalition’s pledge, the hospital has set aside a portion of the money raised by its 2023 annual golf outing to cover costs for these preventive services that may be denied by patients’ health insurance.

The coalition’s pledge will help fund the leasing of two Dignicap® systems as well as the silicone caps worn by the patients.

“We are grateful for the coalition’s pledge and commitment to our patients and the communities we serve,” said Adhi Sharma, MD, Mount Sinai South Nassau’s President. “We look forward to collaborating with the coalition on this essential service to ensure that it is available to all eligible patients, regardless of cost concerns.”

Mount Sinai South Nassau Offers Cold-Cap Therapy

(Photo Left, L to R) Christine Hodyl, DO, Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Director of Breast Health Services; Amber Vitale, RN, NP, Nurse Manager of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Inpatient Infusion Center; Erin O’Sullivan and Peg McDonald, Co-Presidents of Rockville Centre Breast Cancer Coalition; Karine Austin, DNP, RN, Assistant Vice President of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Oncology Services. (Photo Right) Mount Sinai South Nassau infusion center nurse Carrie McMichael, RN, demonstrates the set-up of the cold cap system (on a Mount Sinai South Nassau employee, who is not an actual patient).

“Breast cancer can be an emotionally devastating diagnosis and the cold-cap program helps give hope to women who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment,” said Anthony Cancellieri, Co-Chair of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Board of Directors who also helps organize the hospital’s annual golf outing. “We don’t want to turn any woman away because of the cost, so donating some of the golf outing proceeds was an easy call to make. We are pleased to support this initiative.”

“On behalf of the Board of the Rockville Centre Breast Cancer Coalition, we are thrilled to partner with Mount Sinai South Nassau to help women in our community diagnosed with cancer,” said Kathy Baxley, Co-Vice President of Outreach for the coalition. “This donation will help ensure that eligible women needing chemotherapy for breast cancer have access to this important treatment.”

Studies have shown that cold-cap therapy can prevent hair loss in 66.3 percent of patients with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy and is well tolerated by most patients. Cold-cap therapy is initiated prior to the start of each chemotherapy session. The Dignicap System’s silicone cooling cap, supported by an insulating outer rubber cap, is placed snugly on the patient’s head. Flexible lightweight tubing connects the cooling cap to a control unit that circulates chilled liquid through the tubing to the silicone cap, delivering consistent, controlled cooling to all areas of the scalp. The therapy decreases blood flow through the scalp, limiting the amount of chemotherapy that reaches the hair follicles and reducing the risk of chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

“We want to treat the whole patient and offering this service is part of our commitment to provide our patients with comprehensive and compassionate care,” said Rajiv Datta, MD, Cancer Program Medical Director at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “It is our hope that cold-cap therapy will instill our patients with encouragement and an optimistic outlook during their treatment journey.” 

About Mount Sinai South Nassau
The Long Island flagship hospital of the Mount Sinai Health System, Mount Sinai South Nassau is designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for outstanding nursing care. Mount Sinai South Nassau is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,500 employees. Located in Oceanside, New York, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health, and emergency services and operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County, along with Long Island’s only free-standing Emergency Department in Long Beach.

In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, Mount Sinai South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and offers Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. Mount Sinai South Nassau operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County verified by the American College of Surgeons as well as Long Island’s only free-standing, 9-1-1 receiving Emergency Department in Long Beach. Mount Sinai South Nassau also is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons; is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program; and an Infectious Diseases Society of America Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence.
For more information, go to www.mountsinai.org/southnassau.