COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia woman was not going to let cancer get the best of her or her hair.
Channel 2's Wendy Corona sat alongside Kristi Atkins as she got her last chemo treatment. She told Corona she wanted others to know that cancer is not a diagnosis to go bald -- there are options.
For Atkins, that option came in the form of a cold cap.
The cap, stored in a cooler with dry ice, is molded, pulled and wrapped snuggly on the patient's head.
“(The cold cap) needs to be between negative 31 to negative 36,” Jeff Boone, with Warrior Caps, said.
The goal is to freeze the hair follicles and save the hair from falling out.
“The first cap is the coldest when it goes on, because my hair follicles have not frozen yet,” Atkins said.
Boone has been beside Atkins for all of her chemo treatment, including the last one at Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
“You don't have to go bald,” Boone said.
One day before her 49th birthday, Atkins was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Doctors said it was treatable, but it would require more than surgery.
Atkins planned to keep working in sports marketing.
“The hair part and preserving my hair as much as I could was very important to me,” Atkins said. “That's the one thing Dr. Assikis told me from the very beginning was that you would be bald by the second chemo treatment.”
With her doctor's blessing, she donned the cap.
“They have affectionately named me Toad from Nintendo games with my little hat here,” Atkins said.
While more widely accepted overseas and not typically covered by insurance in the U.S., Atkins described herself as lucky and wants to share what she found actually works.
“A lot of women don't know about this, and they don't know that it's an option,” Atkins said.
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