SPECIAL machines at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital that help chemotherapy patients keep their hair should be used by more people, says a breast cancer sufferer.

Liz Lowe, from Halesowen, has recently finished a course of chemotherapy for breast cancer at the hospital and she used a Scalp Cooler during her treatment.

The 53-year-old said retaining her hair made her feel more positive about her treatment and she is keen to champion its benefits to fellow sufferers.

Liz said: “It is not particularly pleasant using the Scalp Cooler, and it is obviously freezing but, for me, it is much less painful than I imagined and it has allowed me to keep my hair.

“I feel that all patients need to be told about the Scalp Coolers so that they can decide whether to try it for themselves.

“Losing hair is not the end of the world, especially considering what else we are going through, but, for me, to look the same and to have people who don’t know me treat me no differently to normal has made me feel more positive about my treatment.”

Mum-of-two Liz - whose sister was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago – decided to have a mastectomy earlier this year after a routine mammogram detected a pre-cancerous condition.

However, a 32mm-long tumour had already developed, meaning Liz would require chemotherapy as well as heart medication after also being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.

She said: “I expected to lose my hair during treatment and recalled my sister who had been ‘bald and beautiful’ during her chemo sessions.

“I then asked about using the Scalp Cooler machine and was happy that it was available in our local hospital (Russells Hall).

“I went ahead with my treatment, although surprised at seeing nobody else trying the machine whenever I was there.

“Chemo has not thrown too many side-effects at me and I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to benefit from these machines in order to take a little control back from this disease.”

Patients wear a cap attached to a Scalp Cooling Machine before, during and after treatment, which lowers the scalp’s temperature, protecting the follicles from the effects of the drugs and minimising hair damage.

The machines are provided by charity Walk The Walk, which is trying to raise the profile of Scalp Coolers - used in 247 hospitals across the country - during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Liz is now planning to take on the MoonWalk marathon challenge in London next year to raise funds for the cause.

She said: “I could not have got through these past few months without my amazing family and friends and we are very excited to be participating in The MoonWalk London next May to have fun and raise funds in the continuing fight against breast cancer!”

For more information, or to sign up for a Walk the Walk event, visit walkthewalk.org