Cancer patients at Chase Farm Hospital have been given a boost by the donation of two machines to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy treatment.

The innovative appliances which cool the scalp are now in operation at Chase Farm Hospital thanks to the fund-raising efforts of the Barnet and District CancerLink charity.

Volunteers raised £22,000 to provide the Enfield hospital’s haematology and oncology day unit with two Paxman Scalp Cooling System units.

The machines use a specialised cooling technique via silicone scalp caps to reduce blood flow to hair follicles, resulting in minimising chemotherapy-induced hair loss in patients. Hair loss is recognised as one of the most traumatic side-effects of cancer treatment, with one in eight female patients saying they would decline treatment because of it.

Each scalp cooling machine can be used for two patients at a time, and staff at the unit said patients had been given a lift by their arrival.

Flore Dohmatob, senior sister (pictured modelling one of the cooling caps), said: “It has given us and the patients so much joy and we are very grateful to be able to help more patients.

“Before, we only had one machine to treat two patients at a time with. But now we can treat six which is a massive thing for us and the patients.” 

She added: “It does not stop the hair falling out but it generates re-growth more quickly.

“After three months you can see hair coming back for those who use the machines, but it takes longer for those who don’t.”

Julia Chapman, matron, said: “It’s not just women, it is also an option for men. It is truly amazing.”

Caroline Thomas, secretary of the Barnet and District CancerLink charity, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to help people going through such a difficult time of their lives.”

The charity runs a therapeutic drop-in centre with reflexology and healing treatments offered every first and third Wednesday of the month at Church of Mary Immaculate and Gregory the Great church hall, in Barnet.

Caroline said: “We offer friendship, support and a warm welcome to people with cancer, in remission or those supporting, or have supported, loved ones through their journey.”

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