Disease Information & Support


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Skin-related side effects from cancer treatment include:

  • dry skin
  • redness
  • itchiness
  • skin lesions

If you experience any skin changes, see your doctor as soon as possible so he or she can evaluate them: Some changes are related to the primary cancer or infection. Treatment for these side effects can make you more comfortable and prevent serious problems from developing. Your doctor can recommend or prescribe appropriate treatment including topical solutions (creams, lotions or gels) to soothe, soften or moisturize your skin or to relieve itching.

Fingernails and Toenails

Chemotherapy can affect the color and texture of your fingernails and toenails:

  • Nails may darken, crack or become brittle.
  • White ridges or bands of discoloration may appear along the nails.
  • Nail beds may darken.
  • A small number of patients lose all or part of their fingernails and toenails.

Talk to your doctor about any changes you notice in your nails. Keep your fingernails and toenails clean, dry and relatively short. Except in extremely rare cases, nails will grow back or return to normal after chemotherapy ends.

last updated on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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