Allergies and Chemo/Immuno

Hi All

I was diagnosed with TNBC spread locally to lymph nodes at the beginning of March. Started my treatment beginning of April 12 weeks Pemb (every 3 weeks) and Paclitaxel/carboplatin (every week) then on to 3 weekly EC +Pemb for another 12 weeks.

First week of chemo went swimmingly! Was a bit tired (I have 2 children under 5 so pretty sure this contributes!) and constipated but an increase in fibre and movement soon sorted that!

Second week a different story as I had an anaphylactic reaction to the Paclitaxel. I was still able to receive treatment that day after a break and desense meds but left me a bit shook!

Then 4 days after the second treatment I broke out in a rash all over. After making sure I was seen (a whole 11 hours hospital appointments!) it seems like a reaction to the immunotherapy pembrolizumab. So now my care team is looking into best ways to treat it… coincidentally because I’m now on desense meds for Paclitaxel the Dexamethasone has helped calm it down for the time being but I realise that’s not probably the best way to treat it. I have been given dermol as emollient and soap substitute but am not convinced by it!

I was aware that it was quite likely to happen as I’m very Atopic. I have asthma, eczema, year round hayfever and alopecia universalis (least that’s one less thing to worry about!!) but am feeling a bit frustrated and disheartened for this to have happened so early on in to treatment and am concerned they’ll stop the Pemb.

I’m being referred to the dermatology unit so am keen to see what they say.

Really I’m just looking to see if anyone has experienced similar or has any advice out there for undergoing treatment with these sorts of allergies/conditions.

Thank you in advance! :slight_smile:

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Hi @seztommi

Welcome to the forum.

I am also very Atopic as well. Asthma, allergies, including anaphylaxis risk due to tree nut allergy, eczema. I had a reduced dose (85%) of my 12 weekly Paclitaxel from the beginning but still had an allergic reaction on week 3 then I was given steroids, antihistamines and anti acids to take before, the day of and after chemo. I didn’t have a reaction after that. I found the steroids helped with allergies and asthma as well, only down side was weight gain and puffy face. I was also given a blue steroid card to carry for the next 12 months to show all medical professionals. I’m normally very allergic to nail varnish and strengthening treatments but was able to use as the steroids prevented any allergy. Within a few weeks stopping the steroids I had allergic reaction to the nail strengthening treatment.

My allergic reaction was heat/flushed face with cold cap on! And I vomited quite badly but they weren’t sure it was allergy. One nurse said it could be the body trying to expel the chemo by being sick.

I had a temperature at week 8 and hospitalised and they reduced (75%) the dose again for the final 4 infusions.

I hope your team and the dermatology team can help with your reactions and rash. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Thank you for sharing :blush: sorry to hear you’ve had to go through all of that but very reassuring to hear you were able to get through your Paclitaxel with a cocktail of pre-meds and lowered dose.

My chemo was postponed yesterday as now I’ve had 2 different types of reactions they weren’t comfortable administering chemo without investigating the rash further first and getting it more under control. It’s quite an agressive one and now over 30% of the body. Where I’m on immunotherapy as well they have to be particularly cautious.

They’ve got me into the dermatologist very quickly and I’ve been put on a high dose of oral steroids with topical corticosteroids creams for the next few days. With bloods and follow up consultation booked in for Friday. All seems to be in hand and being taken very seriously. Just all a bit disheartening and finding it difficult dealing with the uncertainty.

Really appreciate the response. Sending lots of good luck your way :heart_eyes:

1 Like

I’m so pleased you have been seen so quickly and that they want to investigate the rash. It so hard being reactive to things. I hope your chemotherapy can restarted, be adapted or changed so that you can continue with treatment.

I can imagine it’s hard to deal with the uncertainty. Have you got anyone you can talk to. Talking might help with the way you feel. I know from experience my family were there but they were dealing with a lot with my diagnosis and watching me through my treatment so speaking to people outside was really helpful.

  • Helpline: 0808 800 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-1pm). Speak to our trained helpline team. No questions are too big or too small.
  • Ask Our Nurses: You can message our nurses here on the forum, or confidentially. Whatever you prefer.

MacMillan offer free counselling. Maggie’s centres are also great. is a great U.K. cancer charity that provides online as well as in person help. They have a great Treatment Support Programme which you can access while having chemotherapy/radiotheraphy etc. I found these session invaluable and continue with the monthly follow up sessions.

The forum is always here for you.

Take care :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: