Cold Cap Chemo: How It Works, Financial Considerations, & Three Free Programs

cold cap chemo therapy
This page was originally published August 5, 2023 and updated June 5, 2024.

Cold Cap therapy is a revolutionary treatment method that aims to preserve the hair of those undergoing chemotherapy. While these patients are fighting an already daunting battle against cancer, the prospect of complete hair loss can add another layer of emotional distress. The use of Cold Caps during chemotherapy can potentially reduce or even prevent this hair loss, serving to alleviate some of the psychological burden and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and want to learn about cold caps during chemo, read on for a detailed explanation plus three free resources that will provide cold caps at no cost to cancer patients in the USA.

While it’s not a guaranteed solution for everyone, many users of Cold Cap therapy have reported positive results. This innovative approach is giving hope to many cancer patients, allowing them to retain a sense of identity and normalcy during a challenging period of their lives. The journey through cancer treatment is undoubtedly tough, but with solutions like Cold Cap therapy, it does not have to lead to the loss of everything that makes you, you. As we delve deeper into understanding the benefits, process, and potential challenges of Cold Cap therapy, we hope to shed light on why it is emerging as a promising choice for many undergoing chemotherapy.

How Cold Cap Therapy Works

Cold Cap therapy is a method that involves wearing a cap filled with cold gel on your head before, during, and after each chemotherapy treatment. The cap cools the scalp, which is believed to slow blood flow to hair follicles and thus prevent chemotherapy drugs from reaching and damaging them.

The Cold Cap functions by reducing the temperature of the scalp before chemotherapy drugs are administered. This process, known as scalp cooling, lessens blood flow to hair follicles, decreasing the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach them and thus mitigating hair loss. The cooling effect narrows the blood vessels underneath the skin of the scalp, reducing the amount of drugs that reach the hair follicles. Numerous studies have been conducted to verify the effectiveness of cold cap therapy.

A study published in JAMA concludes that Cold Cap therapy can prevent hair loss in women undergoing chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. Another research published in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment journal confirms similar findings. Most research concludes that Cold Cap therapy is safe and effective in minimizing chemotherapy-induced hair loss and can also contribute to the psychological well-being of cancer patients.

Financial Considerations

Advocacy for comprehensive insurance coverage, subsidies, and financing options is crucial in this regard. Furthermore, manufacturers of such therapies should also consider affordability while developing and pricing their products, so every patient has the opportunity to benefit from this valuable treatment.

Insurance considerations are crucial when deciding on cold cap therapy. While most insurance companies do not cover the cost of the caps, some may cover the rental equipment necessary for keeping the caps frozen during treatment. Before committing to cold cap therapy, it is essential to check with your insurance provider about your policy’s specific coverages.

Before embarking on cold cap therapy, it’s crucial to explore all possible avenues of support and resources. One such resource could be your hospital care coordinator. They often possess an extensive knowledge of local programs and services that can provide financial assistance, emotional support, or practical help with using and acquiring cold cap therapy. Depending on your location, there may be community organizations, non-profit initiatives, or hospital-sponsored programs that can assist you. Therefore, always ensure you consult with your hospital care coordinator to get a comprehensive understanding of the resources available to you in your fight against hair loss during chemotherapy.

Three Free Cold Cap Programs

Cost should never pose as a barrier to access life-changing treatments such as cold cap therapy. The importance of maintaining self-identity and confidence during a challenging time like cancer treatment is immeasurable and should not be undervalued due to financial constraints. Societies and healthcare providers should strive to make options like cold cap therapy more accessible and affordable. Here are three national programs that can help.

The Rapunzel Project

The Rapunzel Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping chemotherapy patients keep their hair during treatment. They have partnered with various hospitals and clinics across the United States to provide free use of cold caps.

The Rapunzel Project partners with an extensive network of hospitals and clinics across the U.S., providing them with biomedical freezers necessary for storing cold caps. These freezers are donated by Rapunzel Project and are made available in the chemotherapy treatment rooms. This initiative eliminates the need for patients to bring their own coolers, making the process more convenient and accessible. They believe that every patient should have the option to preserve their hair and strive to make this a reality. You can find more information on their website: Rapunzel Project.

Hair To Stay

Another excellent resource is HairToStay. This is one of the first national non-profit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients afford scalp cooling, a treatment that can dramatically reduce chemotherapy-induced hair loss. You can apply for a subsidy on their website: HairToStay.

HairToStay is revolutionizing the landscape of scalp cooling treatments in the United States. The organization primarily aims to increase access to scalp cooling treatments, which can significantly mitigate chemotherapy-induced hair loss. They do this by providing subsidies to patients who are unable to afford such treatments, thereby bridging the gap between need and affordability. Since its inception, HairToStay has helped hundreds of low-income patients preserve their hair and, consequently, their dignity and self-confidence during a challenging time. You can apply for a subsidy on their website HairToStay.

The Fleener Family Foundation

The Fleener Family Foundation is another noteworthy organization that offers a free cold cap program. It was set up with the intention of offering assistance to cancer patients experiencing financial hardship or accessibility challenges, helping them retain their hair during the course of chemotherapy. The foundation provides cold cap therapy free of charge, aiming to reduce the additional stress that cost considerations might add to an already challenging time. Their mission is to bring a sense of normality and dignity back to the lives of cancer patients by allowing them to maintain their appearance and self-esteem throughout their treatment. For more information about their program and how to apply, visit the Fleener Family Foundation website.

Remember, while Cold Cap Chemo can be a significantly beneficial tool in the fight against hair loss during chemotherapy, everyone reacts differently to treatments. It is crucial to consult with your health care provider to determine if it is the right option for you.


The advancements in medical technology, like cold cap therapy, have provided a significant positive impact on the lives of chemotherapy patients. By reducing the often-distressing side effect of hair loss, cold cap therapy allows patients to retain a semblance of normality and dignity during their challenging cancer journey. While the cost and access to this therapy remain hurdles for many, the commendable work of non-profit organizations, such as The Rapunzel Project, HairToStay, and the Fleener Family Foundation, have made strides in making cold cap therapy accessible and affordable to those in need. In making your decision about whether to use cold cap therapy, remember to consult with your healthcare provider and consider all aspects including your personal health condition, the potential benefits, and financial implications. The journey through chemotherapy is deeply personal and different for every individual. The goal is to find the best path for you. We’re here to help. ❤️

More Financial Help for Cancer Patients in the USA

For anyone seeking further financial assistance options, refer to our comprehensive post on Financial Help for Cancer Patients in the USA. This post provides a detailed guide on numerous organizations, programs, and initiatives that offer financial aid to cancer patients, ranging from treatment costs to living expenses. It is a critical resource that can help ease the financial burden that often comes with a cancer diagnosis. Many organizations recognize the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis and offer aid to help mitigate the cost.


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