Thanks to funds raised by last year's Dry July participants, St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne have purchased one of the first scalp cooling caps available to public patients in Victoria.
The cap reduces the risk of hair loss during chemotherapy by decreasing scalp temperature and blood flow to hair follicles.
Afaf Shenouda couldn’t believe her luck when she was told she would be the first patient to be treated with a scalp cooling cap during her chemotherapy treatment at St Vincent’s.
‘How lucky am I to receive this treatment?’ Afaf says. ‘I’m so grateful to the donors who have given me the opportunity to keep my hair.’
‘It feels and sounds like rain, like it’s hailing on my head,’ Afaf explains, when the cap was first turned on. Afaf was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer last December and is receiving chemotherapy at the St Vincent’s Cancer Centre.
‘It all happened very suddenly. I am a very healthy mother of four and I just turned 60 last November. I discovered the lump by chance when I felt a hard lump underneath my breast, which was quite hidden. I was reluctant to tell my doctors as I was scared of what the answer may be.’
Before Afaf knew that the scalp cooling cap was available she cut off 30cms of her beautiful hair to prepare herself for losing it during treatment. ‘My hair was my signature. My whole life I had very long hair and people would always stop me and comment how beautiful it was. It means a lot to me to have my hair and I have now been given the opportunity to save my hair.’
This new piece of equipment will significantly transform the lives of people like Afaf by improving their self-confidence and identity during this difficult time.