Hair preservation technology could soon be coming to Maine

Published: Oct. 3, 2019 at 4:42 PM EDT
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An estimated 1,400 Maine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.

There are a lot of stresses a woman has to deal with when battling breast cancer.

From the diagnosis, to radiation, to chemo, there's a lot to think about. And, many have to deal with the loss of their hair.

Local healthcare providers and business owners in Bangor are teaming up to bring new technology to the state to allow women to keep some or most of their hair during treatment.

Patients will wear the FDA approved silicone caps for 30 minutes before treatment, during treatment, and for an hour after treatment.

"The technology is meant to cool the scalp so that the blood flow is decreased, decreasing the exposure of the follicles to the medications, and also decreasing the rate of cell metabolism,” explained Kimberly Lieber, MD, Northern Light breast surgical care specialist.

A campaign is underway to bring the technology to the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute.

Carrie Meo is the owner of Anthony John's Day Spa, Salon, and Boutique in Bangor.

She's spearheading the campaign in honor of her friend, Robin Ball, who lost her battle with cancer in 2016.

"She was very involved with Champion the Cure when she was here, and if there's any way that she could support women going through breast cancer, or anybody going through cancer, she would do it. This would be one way that she could help support that, so she would be very happy,” said Meo.

Breast cancer affects women in many ways, and doctors hope this new technology will help them gain some control in their lives.

"I can't think of a better project to support our patients and women in the state going through one of the worst things in their lives. It is a completely patient-focused campaign, and I am thrilled” said Lieber.

Doctors say while this technology is not perfect, it's better than the alternative.

"As our technology and our understanding of cancer improves, hopefully our treatments will be less devastating to women, and one day perhaps, the hair loss will be a thing of the past” said Lieber.

So far, they've raised more than one-fifth of the $250,000 needed to make the technology available to breast cancer patients in Maine.

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