The Adelaide Cancer Centre offers a range of services to compliment and support your treatment program from diagnosis, through treatment and follow up.

All support services can be arranged by your Doctor or staff at the Cancer Centre.

The Penguin Cold Cap Therapy System is designed to reduce hair loss while patients undergo chemotherapy treatment.

It is a system of cooling the scalp using a specially designed lightweight cap that is fitted to the patients’ head prior to chemotherapy for the duration of the treatment.Importantly, the system can be tailored by doctors to suit the needs of the individual patients, taking into account their health, hair type, drug type and treatment levels.

Adelaide Cancer Centre was the first private facility in Australia to use the system for their patients.

The Centre acknowledges ACHA Health Foundation, Pharmacia & Upjohn Pty Ltd and the family of the late Mrs Betty McConnell for their efforts in raising the original purchase of the system totalling $20,000.

This ongoing financial support allows Adelaide Cancer Centre to remain at the forefront in providing a diverse range of care services.
How does the system work?

The key element in the success of the cap is lowering the surface temperature of the scalp. Each cap is filled with a special cold-conducing gel to control scalp temperature.

It works by narrowing blood vessels beneath the skin – thereby reducing the amount of drugs reaching hair follicles – and by lowering the metabolism of the follicles, making them less susceptible to damage.
How long does it take to work?

The degree of hair loss patients with cancer experience depends largely on the type of chemotherapy drug and the dosage being administered; thus the length of time required for the effective use of the cold caps is also dependent on these factors.

How is the cap applied?


Each cap weighs only 1.5kg and can be applied in less than 15 seconds. No scalp preparation is necessary and there is no need to wet the hair or to bandage the
cap in place.

A special feature of the caps is that they remain pliable at very low temperatures and can be adjusted using Velcro tabs. As a result, they comfortably fit all head sizes.

What are the side effects?


Generally cold caps are tolerated very well by patients; however, there are some minor side effects including short-term headache and feeling cold.
How successful is the cap?

It can prevent hair loss in up to 80% of patients and is particularly effective
against the drugs used in treating breast cancer
Do patients need to use the caps regularly?

To assist in preventing hair loss, cold caps need to be used before and during each chemotherapy cycle; however if at any stage patients feel uncomfortable or no longer wish to use them, please alert the medical or nursing staff.
The Adelaide Cancer Centre provides integrated treatment and support for the person with cancer and for their families.

Palliative care services at the Cancer Centre are co-ordinated by Nurse Practitioner, Karen Glaetzer and is supported by Rosemary Willoughby who is available to patients, families and carers who wish to obtain counselling services.
What is palliative care?

Palliative care aims to address the physical, social, psychological and spiritual
needs of patients with the aim of achieving the best quality of life. This involves
the supportive care of the family whose needs are interwoven with those of the patient.

How do I access the palliative care team?

Referral to the palliative care team may be suggested by your Oncologist, your General Practitioner or you may request a referral. The palliative care team regularly visits the Cancer Centre and Ashford Hospital. Please speak to Cancer Centre reception staff if you wish to make an appointment.
The benefits of involving the palliative care team

Members of the palliative care team are:

• experts in symptom management. Symptoms may cause concern at any stage during treatment or illness

• work closely with other community services, aiming to assist people to remain at home during their illness

• are available to co-ordinate care needs, regardless of the site of care. Initial consultation may occur in the Adelaide Cancer Centre and as a person’s needs change, visits may be made to their home


A cosmetic industry community service program helping women face cancer with confidence.

Look Good … Feel Better is dedicated to teaching you beauty techniques to help restore your appearance and self image during your treatment for cancer.

This free two hour workshop is run by experienced volunteers from the Beauty Industry and is available to women undergoing or about to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for cancer.

Participants receive a complimentary set of skincare and make-up for use in the workshop and that is theirs to take home.

The Tennyson Centre is proud to host this workshop on a regular basis.

Please speak to your treating Doctor or Nurse for information on workshop dates or visit the Look Good … Feel Better website at

Icon Cancer Care Adelaide offers a comprehensive one on one patient education service for patients prior to the commencement of their treatment. 

These sessions are held with the Oncology Nurse Practitioner by appointment. 
• Your doctor will speak with you prior to the commencement of your chemotherapy treatment. This is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions and to ask for any scripts you require.
• Treatment time will vary depending on the drugs used.
• Family and friends are welcome to stay with you whilst you are undergoing treatment.
• Please advise our nursing staff if you need to use the bathroom during treatment. The IV poles are on wheels and can easily be moved.
• As some of the drugs used may affect your driving, please check with your
doctor or our nursing staff to ensure it is safe for your to drive home after your treatment.
• You can eat and drink normally prior to and during your treatment. Tea, coffee juice, sandwiches and other refreshments are provided by Icon Cancer Care for Cancer Centre patients..
• An intravenous drip will be inserted into your arm by one of our experienced nursing staff for the administration of drugs during your treatment. A blood test may also be taken at this time.
• You are considered an inpatient when having treatment at the Cancer Centre and health fund excesses may apply. The treatment area Ward Clerk (Ph 8292 2333) can assist you further if you have any questions relating to this.
• You may need to wait for blood results prior to treatment to ensure your blood counts are at a satisfactory level.  Blood results can take up to 1.5 hours.
• Prior to your discharge your drip will be removed. If it is your first treatment, you will be asked to contact our nursing staff the following day to check how you are feeling.
• If you are using the Penguin Cold Cap Therapy System to help reduce hair loss, the first of these caps will be fitted 15 minutes prior to your chemotherapy treatment commencing to cool the scalp.
• Please feel free to call our nurses at any time to discuss any concerns you have relating to your treatment on 8292 2333
• You will have an anti-nausea medication prior to treatment. This may be given via your drip or taken orally. Please remember to bring anti-nausea drugs with you each time you visit the Centre.
• For further information please contact the nursing staff at Icon Cancer Care Adelaide on 8292 2333


Undergoing treatment for cancer results in many effects on your life. Many of these are a direct consequence of the cancer treatments and are dealt with by your cancer specialists.

However, there are other effects on your life and in general health that may develop during or after your treatment that are also important.

Their management can improve your experience of the treatment and your quality of life. Improvements in quality of life in cancer patients have been shown to be beneficial to patient well-being.

Some of these problems are unique to cancer patients and can be complicated and take time to treat effectively.

The Adelaide Cancer Centre offers a comprehensive approach to the treatment of these important aspects of whole patient care.

Dr Susan Taylor, a general practitioner with specific interest in this area will be consulting at the Adelaide Cancer Centre on a regular basis.

Appointments are available by calling 8292 2220 and speaking to reception staff.