Press release

Treatment to help cancer patients reduce hair loss must be made available in all public hospitals

13th December 2023

Green Party Senators have put forward a motion calling on the government to extend scalp cooling technology to all people receiving cancer treatment in public hospitals.

Senator Pauline O’Reilly said it is important to many people going through cancer treatment that they retain as much hair as possible.

Currently, only eight hospitals offer scalp cooling treatment which is an increasingly effective method of preventing hair loss for those undergoing certain types of chemotherapy.

It is essential that this service is extended to all 26 public hospitals providing anti-cancer therapies in Ireland.

The motion calling for an extension of scalp cooling services across all public hospitals is before the Seanad today [December 13th] and is being put forward by Green Party Senators Pauline O’Reilly, Róisín Garvey, and Vincent P. Martin.

Senator O’Reilly said:

“Losing your hair through cancer treatments is often one of the most difficult side effects that people have to deal with.

“For many people, and women in particular, their hair is an important part of who they are and retaining it can help them retain their dignity during a very difficult time.

“When given the option, many people will choose to use the ‘cold cap’ treatment and what we want is all hospitals who treat cancer to offer this service.

“Keeping your hair during cancer treatment shouldn’t be a matter of geography. We hope the government will look positively on this proposal.”



Scalp cooling is a hypothermia treatment which can help minimise hair loss for those undergoing chemotherapy, this involves using a ‘cold cap’ machine during chemotherapy to reduce blood flow to the scalp.

Studies of scalp cooling have found that it is an increasingly effective method to prevent hair loss, particularly for specific types of chemotherapy and for those undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

A scalp cooling service is provided in eight hospitals nationally; these are St. Vincent´s University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, Cork University Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital, St. Luke´s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny, Sligo University Hospital, St James Hospital, and Cavan General Hospital. The Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore had previously provided this service, but it was paused during the pandemic and has not yet resumed.

The following hospitals providing anti-cancer therapies do not currently offer a scalp cooling service:

-              Galway University Hospital;

-              Portiuncula University Hospital;

-              South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital;

-              University Hospital Kerry;

-              Tipperary University Hospital;

-              Letterkenny University Hospital;

-              Mater Misericordiae University Hospital;

-              Mercy University Hospital Cork;

-              Naas General Hospital;

-              University Hospital Waterford;

-              Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda;

-              Wexford General Hospital;

-              CHI at Crumlin Hospital;

-              St. Luke's General Hospital Kilkenny;

-              Beaumont Hospital;

-              St. Luke's Hospital Rathgar;

-              Connolly Hospital;

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