Thousands of young women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year | USA TODAY

Breast cancer is detected in thousands of women under the age of 40.
RELATED: Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What to know about the disease

For many young, cancer patients, scalp cooling therapy – also known as cold capping – is becoming an attractive option while undergoing chemotherapy. It’s available to all cancer patients except those battling leukemia or certain other blood-related cancers, but health experts say many people don’t know the option exists. And for those familiar with the process, the high cost and spotty insurance coverage can put the option out of reach.

Cancer patients, survivors and advocates want to create more awareness about scalp cooling therapy and the effect hair has on a patient’s mental health, emotional health and their recovery process. As more people learn about cold capping, they hope more insurance companies will see the value in providing coverage or reimbursement.

“We cringe every time we get an email saying, ‘I just had my first chemo treatment and heard about cold caps – is it too late to save my hair?’ Sadly, it is too late,” said Nancy Marshall said, co-founder of the The Rapunzel Project, a non-profit promoting cold capping awareness.

During scalp-cooling therapy, the patient wears a special cap strapped to their head before, during and after chemotherapy sessions to keep the head cold and prevent the harsh chemo from getting to the hair follicles.

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