SADDLEWORTH mum Jo Taylor – who used a pioneering scalp cooling treatment to keep her hair during chemotherapy – took part in a special myth busting event in honour of inspirational BBC presenter Rachael Bland.
Diggle mother-of-two Jo, diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2007, attended ‘Pioneering Voices’ to help raise awareness of scalp cooling, a cutting-edge treatment available in 95 percent of UK hospitals.
Five years ago when diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and having lost her hair four times during chemotherapy, Jo turned to scalp cooling (also known as cold cap) to avoid a repeat.
She was treated at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Withington where she wore the PAXMAN Scalp Cooling System before, during and after her chemotherapy sessions.
“Keeping my hair made me feel normal,” said Jo. “I had lost my hair four times in the past, so I did not want to lose it again.
“It did help me keep most of it and I was able to use spray to cover any thin bits that I had.”
Jo was happy to share her experiences at Pioneering Voices where the aim of the day was to unite women who had experienced scalp cooling, giving them the opportunity to share their knowledge.
Myths such as ‘it’s painful’ or ‘you cannot wash or brush your hair’ were discussed and demystified by the people who had first-hand experience of the treatment.
“Scalp cooling was not as bad as people said it would be,” added Jo.
“Yes, it’s cold but you can deal with it. It’s not painful it’s just discomfort.
“Scalp cooling made me feel normal so it was great to be involved in the Pioneering Voices event, to share my experiences with other people and to be able to offer peer-to-peer support.”
Scalp cooling or ‘the cold cap’ alleviates the damage caused to the hair follicles during chemotherapy by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy.
Despite there being a large quantity of PAXMAN Scalp Cooling Systems available in UK hospitals, the public’s awareness is very low.
Eight patients refuse chemotherapy outright because they do not want to lose their hair.
Pioneering Voices also highlighted exactly why scalp cooling meant so much to BBC reporter Rachael – who used scalp cooling during her chemotherapy treatment and filmed videos and wrote blog posts all about the subject gave tips on how to get the best results. Sadly, Rachael died in September 2018, aged just 40.
The event was also attended by Lauren Mahon, Rachael’s co-host on the award-winning podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’ and Jules Peters, wife of Welsh rock star Mike Peters of the Alarm, all of whom used the PAXMAN Scalp Cooling System during their own cancer treatment.