New therapy at Mayo Clinic helps cancer patients keep hair

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s a process that looks a little strange -- and for those who have gone through it, it's one that feels even stranger.

“Essentially, your head is frozen for seven hours. It’s not comfortable, but it's worth it and it kind of feels like an ice cream headache,” Kristin Ferguson said.

Ferguson got “cold cap” treatments at Mayo Clinic while she was battling breast cancer earlier this year. For Ferguson and many other women, the thought of losing hair was daunting.

“I have three boys and I didn't want them to think I was sick,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson’s hair thinned slightly but still remained full during chemo thanks to this new technology.

The Mayo Clinic now has its own machine. Each treatment is $400, and according to Mayo officials, has a 70-80 percent success rate.

“While the chemo is circulating around in our body, we can try to preserve certain part of our body by keeping them cold," Dr. Saranya Chumsri, a breast cancer specialist at Mayo, said.

Ferguson said going through breast cancer is tough enough, so having one less thing to worry about like losing your hair is a blessing. She hopes her cold cap story encourages women far and wide.

“If this reaches anybody, I hope they would do that because it's definitely worth it," Ferguson said.