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Cooling caps for cancer patients at Frankston Hospital

Frankston Hospital is one of the first public hospitals in the state to offer cancer patients scalp cooling while they undergo chemotherapy to help prevent a common side effect of treatment – hair loss.

Last week Crib Point mother-of-three Angela Fox was the very first patient to have scalp cooling, which chills the head and works by reducing the amount of chemotherapy drugs reaching the hair follicles.

“It’s a marvellous opportunity to have all of this technology in a public hospital, which basically helps you keep your dignity while you’re having all of this treatment done,” says Angela.

“Hair is fairly important – if you’ve still got your hair a lot of people don’t realise what you’re going through and that’s a good thing.”

Up to four patients can have scalp cooling during chemotherapy at one time, thanks to a grant from Perpetual Trustees on behalf of RP medical Fund, Rowe Family Foundation and The John Robertson Grigor & Mrs Eve McKenzie Bequest. The local community also played a role, with funds raised from Peninsula Health’s Take a Break For Cancer campaign being used to fit out the area and install new monitors for the scalp cooling.

Chemotherapy Day Unit Nurse Manager Joan Thomas says the scalp cooling will make a big difference to cancer patients on the Peninsula.

“It is fantastic we can now offer this service to suitable patients thanks to the generous support from Perpetual Trustees on behalf of the three funds and the local community,” says Joan.

“Losing your hair can be quite traumatic. Stopping this from happening can help the mental health and wellbeing of patients as it helps them continue to look and feel like their usual self.”

Angela was diagnosed with breast cancer in March after having a routine Mammogram.

“The tumour was very, very small – they were lucky to find it actually,” explains Angela.

“Within four weeks I was having surgery at Frankston Hospital to remove the tumour and some lymph nodes from my arm.”

The long-time Peninsula resident and grandmother of two is set to have four chemotherapy sessions and then radiotherapy. She will wear the cooling cap for each chemotherapy session.

“It feels very strange and definitely cold – it feels like when you jump in the water and there’s all these bubbles.”

“It saves me losing my hair though, so I don’t mind what it feels like.”

Help more people like Angela access the care and support they need, close to home by supporting Take a Break For Cancer.

Take a Break for Cancer

1 in 4 people on the Mornington Peninsula will be affected by cancer.

Chances are, it will be you or someone you love.

Take a Break for Cancer and help raise vital funds for your local cancer service so everyone has access to fast diagnosis, fast treatment, and the care and support they need, close to home.


Jessica Mills


Jessica Mills