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In adult women with breast cancer, alopecia that often accompanies the use of chemotherapy can be devastating when added to the emotional distress of receiving treatment. According to the Up to Date database, cryotherapy is successful at reducing or preventing alopecia during breast cancer chemotherapy treatment. In addition, several recent studies have shown that chemotherapy-induced alopecia has a negative effect on the body image and psychological well-being of women with breast cancer. The review of literature from Cochrane and PubMed database, from the last ten years, explored studies of women ages 18-80with breast cancer that evaluated the impact of chemotherapy-induced alopecia on patient’s self-confidence, body image, and well-being including anxiety and depression. Shin, Jo, Kim, Kwon, & Myung (2014) reported that scalp cooling method significantly reduced thedevelopment of CIA in comparison to other methods and reduced relative risk by one-third. (p<0.001). Choi et al., (2014) found CIA distress was negatively associated with body image, psychosocial well-being and depression among breast cancer patients. Significant differences were found between the severity of alopecia and distress (p<0.001).This study found that CIA is a distressing side-effect of breast cancer treatment and that its prevention can minimize the psychological effects it has on a patient’s well-being. Providers can improve the care of breast cancer patients that are receiving chemotherapy by offering scalp cryotherapy, as well as the information and resources necessary to reduce the psychological sequelae and improve their patients’ quality of life


Physician Assistant Studies

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Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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Alopecia -- prevention & control; Alopecia -- psychology; Body Image; Cryotherapy; Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions -- prevention & control


Health Psychology

Preventing CIA in Women with Breast Cancer Improves Psychological Well-being