SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Inside the Upstate Cancer Center is a relatively new machine that’s changing lives during cancer treatment. It’s a Paxman Scalp Cooling machine, preventing some cancer patients from losing their hair during chemotherapy.

The machine came to Central New York because of a patient who made it her mission to make others aware of the technology. Now, her friend, Katy Moses, is continuing that work, sharing her story and ensuring her legacy will live on.

The second time Liz Formoza was diagnosed with breast cancer, the mom of four didn’t want her kids to see the side effects. So, she and Moses would drive to Boston bi-weekly to use the Paxman Scalp Cooling System.

Patients sit under the cap for 30 minutes before chemotherapy treatment, during the entire infusion, and for about two hours after. It blocks certain chemo drugs from getting to the scalp and causing hair loss.

It’s not cheap though. Pricing per patient is capped at $2,200.

It made such a difference in her life, Formoza became passionate about making sure people knew about it and making sure they could afford it.

She started The Cool Head Project to help raise money for other patients to use the cooling cap.

Moses says it’s not about vanity, it’s about confidence and control.

It’s more about just maintaining a sense of normalcy so that people aren’t looking at you with what you know, my friend Liz used to call them cancer eyes. She said she hated going to the grocery store and getting, you know, cancer eyes from people that pity.

Katy Moses

Dr. Ranjna Sharma is the Medical Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Upstate Cancer Center.

Sharma says it’s rewarding to watch patients have success with the treatment:

“Up to approximately 50 percent of hair loss can be prevented in certain patients. I think it does restore some sense of normalcy, self-confidence, you know a feeling of I am able to do the things I wanna be doing even though this treatment plan is going on around me.”

It restored a sense of self-control and self-confidence in Formoza until she lost her battle to cancer in 2020. Now, Moses is continuing her mission and carrying Formoza’s legacy on, one patient at a time.

I watched Liz get an extra two years of normal life with her four kids and I think everybody deserves that.

katy moses

If you can’t afford the treatment, The Cool Head Project will pay 100 percent of the cost. However, they need donations, especially after the pandemic.

“We had an event last summer, we raised close to $50,000 but we’ve used 20,000 of that,” said Moses.

If you’d like to donate to The Cool Head Project click here.

Their next fundraising event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 at the Rail Line on S Clinton Street in Syracuse.

The machine doesn’t work for everyone. Patients should ask their doctor if they may qualify for the scalp cooling treatment.

To learn more, visit The Cool Head Project.