Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

J Am Acad Dermatol


Background: Scalp cooling therapy (SCT) is currently the most effective method to reduce chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Manual SCT requires a “capper” to change the caps throughout the infusion day whereas machine SCT only requires a 1-time cap fitting prior to infusion, usually performed by the health care staff. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) brought restrictions on permitted infusion center visitors, which we hypothesized would include “cappers,” creating an additional barrier to SCT use.

Methods: A scripted call was placed during May 2021 by a study author to infusion centers of Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredited hospitals in Michigan, New York City (NYC) and major cities in Texas in order to investigate how COVID-19 impacted SCT at their institution. The University of Michigan’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) deemed this study exempt from IRB approval.

Results: Forty-one infusion centers were successfully contacted (40/62, 64.5%). Of the 33 that allow SCT, 41% (14) did not allow “cappers” under COVID-19 restrictions. Of the 13 institutions offering machine SCT, 92% (12/13) allowed patients to continue using the machines during the pandemic as it does not require an outside “capper.”

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the negative impact of COVID-19 on manual SCT use. As COVID-19 is likely here for the foreseeable future, it is critical to find ways to safely use SCT during these times. Hence, hospital adoption of SCT machines is even more critical given the pandemic, particularly for those of lower socioeconomic status and without strong social support.





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