When Lauren West was just 35-years-old she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The young woman from Prahran in Victoria was on a holiday in New York when she discovered a lump on her right breast, which turned out to be cancerous.
Her chemotherapy started straight away and while she was horrified at the thought of losing her hair, she discovered a cooling cap, which meant that never happened.
The cap, called the Paxman Scalp Cooling System is only available in a handful of hospitals around Australia and it’s designed for people who don’t want to go through the traumatic pain of losing their hair during chemotherapy.
Speaking on her blog, Lauren said her family and friends wondered if she really should be worried about her hair when she had such a medical struggle ahead of her, however her hair was part of who she was.
The lifestyle blogger told that's life that she didn’t want to lose her “long blonde hair” as she wanted to be able to look in the mirror and see the same person staring back at her as she underwent her treatment.
The cap is deigned so it reduces the temperate of the scalp, limiting the amount of drugs getting into the follicles.
It’s worn for a few hours during each chemotherapy session and it works better for some hair types more than others.
Six months after enduring her chemotherapy, Lauren seemed to be stabilizing, but worse was yet to come.
Two years later she has found out she has secondary breast cancer and also cancer in the liver and possibly the lungs.
She said after going through a double mastectomy, radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, she wasn’t going to let cancer “define how she looked” and has decided to use the cool cap again.
Lauren is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment but said using the cap and keeping her hair was the “best decision” she made, as it let her keep her confidence.
“I kept my hair and it gave me some control back. I had something to focus on rather than just thinking about the side effects,” she said on the company’s website.