I'm losing my fingernails!

4 weeks after my final cycle of chemo and my fingernails are holding on by a thread (actually about 3mm of, albeit healthy looking, flesh!)

The irony is that my nails have never been stronger and look glorious under polish! Unfortunately, the polish is to disguise the horrible discolouration.  

Doing up buttons, pulling up jeans, untying knots and rummaging about in my handbag have all become extremely perilous activities - and grating lemons is a definite no-no (as I found to my cost!)

It looks likely that I will lose all 10 nails. Has this happened to anyone else? If so, please tell me they’ll grow back!!

Thanks X 

Hi JeniK


I too lost all 10 fingernails after chemo finished, not all at once though. Held onto all my toenails, though very ridged. Mine started loosening off from the bottom as the new nail was already growing underneath. Had to keep them really short, keep trimming them and sometimes put some tape with a dry dressing underneath when they were quite loose, so they didn’t catch. First time put the tape straight on my nails and almost ripped off the nail when taking it off – ouch! My two pinkie nails were the last to go but the new nail was already half way up the nail bed by the time they came off. Watch the nail bed as it can be very tender if you forget and hit your finger off something. My nails are pretty soft and flaky now but I do know someone though who’s nails came back just as good as they were before chemo.



please don’t worry they will grow back! ?


i completely understand what you are saying, I was mortified when they came off one by one, I ended up losing all finger and toe nails. I ended my chemo on the 19th may, during the course of June I started to lose each nail one by one ? The beginning of july I started to take perfectil max daily and now at the beginning of October all my nails are back and only 3 of my fingernails have the chemo discolouration.


just keep hanging in there, to be honest looking back now, I was less stressed when they came off but completely understand that it’s certainly not what you are thinking now!


just keep thinking that they will grow back and you will get lovely nails when they grow back ?


Yes, me too. I started to loose my fingernails one by one 3 weeks after the end of final cycle of chemo. Do not dispair - they do grow back.

The tops of my nails are still paper thin and split easily so I keep them short. I can see that there is good healthy growth now on the majority of the nails that I am sure will be stronger. It has been about 3 months since I started to lose them and I reckon another month and they will be back to normal.

Hope that this is reassuring



Evie1’s suggestion of dry dressing under tape is really good. From first appointment with oncologist when he mentioned could loose my nails have been paranoid about it. It just didn’t occur to me that it could happen till he said it. Like everyone else my nails were fine through chemo till the last cycle. 4 now have bad ridges with wee holes and all are discoloured and 4 have detached from the nail bed about 1/2 way from the tip. Still hoping I won’t actually loose them & that they hang on till they grow out but if not will tape them up. Now that I am facing loosing some I am much less stressed about it than I was at the beginning of treatment. Hope they grow back quickly for you Julie.