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Rapunzel Project promotes use of cold caps for cancer patients

The Daily Union - Junction City, Kansas.

Cold cap treatments were explained to customers and visitors at Headlines' cancer cut-a-thon fundraiser Thursday afternoon.

Salon owner Rhonda Sharp said she hadn't heard about this treatment to help people taking chemotherapy to keep their hair and wanted to help get the word out to Junction City residents. What better way, she thought, than having a representative present for the salon's fourth annual cut-a-thon.McKenzie Glennon, a Kenra hair care professional, traveled from Liberty, Mo., to spread the word about cold caps that are provided through Kenra's Rapunzel Project, a part of the company. That project raises money to help cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy, she said. Cold cap technology isn't new, she said. It's been around since the 1980s, when dry ice was used in the treatment, she said. It came to the United States from Europe.

Cold caps, which resemble professional wrestling head masks, are filled with freezing gel, Glennon explained. The cancer patient must put them on 30 minutes before undergoing chemotherapy, wear them during the chemotherapy and leave them on for 30 minutes after the chemotherapy, she said. The treatment is about 90 percent effective for anyone being treated for any type of cancer except for hemotological cancer, which is in the person's blood, she said.The treatment is desirable, according to Glennon, because surveys show that about eight percent of women who face chemotherapy will refuse treatment because they will lose their hair.

Glennon explained that the caps are kept in a freezer at the cancer treatment facility. The patient rents the caps for a monthly fee for about $500 with a maximum fee of $1,500 no matter how long the treatment takes.Cold caps can be obtained through the Rapunzel Project, but they require a physician's prescription for a hair prosthesis — normally written for a wig. Some insurance companies honor the prescription just as they would one for a wig, Glennon said. The project's motto, she said, is: "When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you heal better". Glennon said she was in Junction City trying to raise money to put a freezer in a local cancer treatment facility where the caps would be kept for the patients.

By MIKE HERONOMOUS

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