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PRESS RELEASE - Scalp Coolers save the hair of cancer patients across the country

Women and men up and down the country are keeping their hair during chemotherapy treatment, thanks to Scalp Coolers provided by Walk the Walk. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the charity is raising awareness of these amazing machines, which can prevent or reduce hair loss for people undergoing certain types of chemotherapy treatment.

Karen Phillips using a Walk the Walk Scalp Cooler at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary

Women and men up and down the country are keeping their hair during chemotherapy treatment, thanks to Scalp Coolers provided by Walk the Walk. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the charity is raising awareness of these amazing machines, which can prevent or reduce hair loss for people undergoing certain types of chemotherapy treatment.

For many patients, losing their hair is the most visible sign of their treatment for cancer and can have a huge impact on their self-esteem. Keeping their hair can help people retain their identity, as well as a small sense of normality.

As hair loss is not considered life-threatening, NHS funding for Scalp Coolers is not a priority. Over the last twelve years, grants have been made by Walk the Walk for 625 machines in 247 hospitals across the country, including to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Peterborough City Hospital. The charity is committed to removing the postcode lottery and offering more and more people the choice of using the machines.

Karen Phillips, 60, from Huddersfield, is currently using a Scalp Cooler at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as she undergoes chemotherapy treatment. She said: “Using the Scalp Cooler has really made me feel human and knowing it is working to help me keep my hair keeps me strong during my chemo sessions. I have kept most of my hair, and the hair that I initially lost during the first couple of chemo sessions has grown back. I have now used the Scalp Cooler 36 times.”

Linda Nkhata, Chemotherapy Unit Manager at Peterborough City Hospital said:

“We promote the use of Walk the Walk Scalp Coolers because most of our patients, after the diagnosis of cancer, feel that they no longer have control of their body image. One thing they feel they can have control of is their hair, and the common comment we get from patients is that they want to maintain normality, not be reminded of cancer all the time and keep their identity. At the moment the Unit has three Scalp Coolers of which two are doubles and one single, meaning we can treat five patients at one given time. Patients are so grateful that they are in position where they have a choice, when they decide to use Walk the Walk Scalp Coolers.”

Nina Barough CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Walk the Walk said: “Losing your hair whilst having chemotherapy, is often the final straw for many cancer patients and can be completely debilitating. Over the past 12 years Walk the Walk has worked incredibly hard towards removing the postcode lottery that has meant in some areas, cancer patients were unable to receive the choice of this treatment. It has been very important to us that we grant Scalp Coolers to as many NHS Hospital Trusts throughout the U.K. as possible. We believe that everybody should have the choice of using one of these amazing machines. A huge Thank You to all the wonderful women and men who took part in The MoonWalks for raising the funds to enable this to happen.”

Walk the Walk is best known for its famous MoonWalks, when walkers take on marathon challenges in London, Edinburgh and Iceland at Midnight wearing brightly decorated bras.

For more information, or to sign up for a Walk the Walk event visit walkthewalk.org

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Notes to editors:

How Scalp Cooling works

  • Patients wear a cap attached to a Scalp Cooling Machine before, during and after chemotherapy.
  • The temperature of the scalp is lowered, therefore reducing blood flow to the hair follicles.
  • This protects the follicles from the effects of the concentrated chemotherapy drugs which are carried in the blood stream
  • This means that damage to the hair can be prevented, or at least minimised
  • Scalp Cooling can be used by patients undergoing certain types of chemotherapy.

Walk the Walk

  • Nina Barough CBE, Founder and Chief Executive, set up and now runs Walk the Walk Worldwide.  
  • Walk the Walk specialises in fitness and Power Walking challenges. 
  • HRH The Prince of Wales is the official Patron of Walk the Walk. 
  • Walk the Walk has raised in excess of £127 million since 1996.
  • As a grant-making charity, all funds are raised for Walk the Walk are then granted to where the charity feels they will do the most good.  
  • Walk the Walk funds are granted to projects that not only support research, important to all our future health, but also support a variety of projects that are supporting cancer patients now throughout the UK. 
  • To date grants have been made to charities and organisations throughout the UK including Breast Cancer Now, The Breast Cancer Haven, Penny Brohn UK and hundreds of NHS Hospitals and Trusts which are supplied with Scalp Cooling Systems. 
  • The charity also has a Community Grant Fund which annually grants funds to smaller organisations working on the front line of cancer such as Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, Tenovus Cancer Care, The Christie, Cancer Kin, FACT and others, who have all received funds in the past enabling them to continue their work. 
  • ‘The MoonWalk’ is the flagship event of the charity currently held in London, Scotland and Iceland.