Symptoms of Fingernail Disorders During Chemotherapy
Causes of Chemo-Related Fingernail Problems
Some Chemotherapy Drugs That Can Cause Fingernail Disorders
Prevention of Nail DisordersChemo-related nail problems are not totally preventable. At some clinics, the nurse may bring you a dish of ice water for your hands. Research suggests that using ice or cryotherapy, such as frozen gloves, may reduce damage to skin and nails. Ice is sometimes used for the hands and mouth during an infusion, because that’s when the drugs are most toxic to your cells.
Self-Care for Nails During Chemotherapy
- Use clear polish to help keep nails strong
- Avoid artificial nails and colored polish, especially dark colors
- Wear gloves when washing dishes and gardening
- Care for nails and cuticles gently
- As Beau's lines grow beyond nail bed, cut them off
- Increase iron in your diet
- Cut back on or avoid caffeine
- Try taking vitamins for hair, skin, and nails
- Wear comfortable shoes that allow adequate room for your toes
When to See a Health ProfessionalIf you are having nail pain, or your nails appear infected or badly discolored, tell your nurse or doctor about it. Infections can be treated with antibiotics or other medications. Pain and discoloration should be diagnosed and treated by a health professional.
Your Nails Will RecoverEven if your nails disappear during chemo, or become lined or discolored, your skin and nail cells will start growing again at a healthy rate when treatment ends. New nail tissue will push the damaged nails out of the way. Fingernails grow three times faster than toenails, so allow more time to see improvements on your toes.
About Joseph Honoré Simon BeauFrench physician Joseph Honoré Simon Beau described transverse lines in nails in 1846. Beau's lines are named after him. Beau specialized in the physiology of the heart and lungs. These lines are also called Beau-Reil lines, to honor German anatomist Johann Christian Reil, who noted this phenomenon in 1796.
SourcesJournal of Clinical Oncology, July 1, 2005. Frozen Glove Reduces Skin and Nail Damage from Docetaxel Chemotherapy.
Annals of Oncology. Annals of Oncology 14:333-337, 2003. Taxane-induced nail changes: incidence, clinical presentation and outcome. Authors: A. M. Minisini, et. al.