A device that mitigates hair loss during cancer treatment has been recognized as medical equipment and will likely be introduced around Japan in July.

Century Medical Inc.’s Paxman Scalp Cooling System is the first such equipment to receive the recognition.

The device applies a liquid at minus 4 degrees through a dedicated cap to the head of the patient.

The temperature of the scalp remains low from before the start of the anti-cancer drug administration to after the end of the therapy.

The cooling eases the negative effects of anti-cancer drugs on hair producing cells.

Certain kinds of anti-cancer agents cause hair loss among patients. The side effect is described as one of the most traumatic associated with the therapy.

“Some patients refuse to receive anti-cancer drug treatment simply because they can’t stand losing their hair,” said mammary gland surgeon Shozo Osumi at the Shikoku Cancer Center in Matsuyama. “The (new) equipment’s hair preservation effect is not entirely sufficient, but it is very good news that it has been approved.”

In a clinical trial for breast cancer patients in Japan, two doctors confirmed that eight of 30 patients who received the cooling liquid, or 26.7 percent, did not need wigs because less than 50 percent of their hair was lost during treatment.

The scalp cooling equipment has been approved for patients with breast tumors and other types of solid cancer.

Some medical facilities have already conducted clinical trials of the device.

Century Medical wants the clinical use of the system to be covered by public health insurance, but such details as how much patients should pay have yet to be decided.