Penguin Cap Fights Baldness

The first thought that came to Debbie Ohanian’s mind when her oncologist gave her the bad news; “I don’t want to be bald.” “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I go to the gym and I’m healthy so why was I going to get breast cancer. The odds are pretty bad right now,” Ohanian said. After a couple of mammograms, an ultrasound, an MRI and a fine-needle biopsy, Ohanian was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Luckily I had the most common one. It’s been a year and all the vocabulary I once knew I don’t even remember what cancer I had,” she said jokingly. Of course following the diagnosis came surgery and then treatment. This is the phase that bothered her the most; chemotherapy. “I think the first thing you hear after doctors tell you have breast cancer, I think ‘I don’t want to be bald.’ I basically would have foregone chemo,” she said. Ohanian showing off the cold cap.  Luckily, the tumor was still in its early stages. After hearing advice from nearly five different doctors in L.A., Ohanian decided to undergo treatment. Chemotherapy—for Ohanian, it was four rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan, but still enough for her to completely lose her hair. She wouldn’t have it.  “If you could save your hair, and not look sick, that’s a huge plus. Not looking sick is key. I think that’s a very big thing,” Ohanian said. Fortuitously, Ohanian’s friend brought up an interesting concept to her. Ohanian said, “My friend told me, ‘you know, there’s something cold you can put on your head and you don’t lose your hair anymore.” A simple Google search of ‘chemo no hair loss’ lead Ohanian to Penguin Cold Caps. When spread out, it’s shaped like a flattened out penguins body, cold caps are scalp-cooling devices cancer patients can wear to either prevent or reduce chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Made from a “white medical grade hypo-allergenic” flexible plastic material, the Penguin Cold Caps are filled with a special formula of Crylon gel with an “insulated blue nylon cover,” according to the Penguin Cold Cap’s official website. It weighs around 3.3 pounds and requires Velcro fasteners to adjust the cap to fit all head shapes and sizes.  Making this one indispensible penguin pal.

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