Nail side-effects

Hello everyone, I am just reaching out here to ask other people’s experience of nail side effects either while going through treatment or afterwards.

3 cycles of EC and 4 of docetaxel with Phesgo & my nails didn’t seem too bad. But now 9 weeks post last chemo dose (still on Phesgo) they’re a flaky mess, all ridged and and with no defined edge as layers keep peeling off. I’m talking fingers here.

A friend at work who had BC and chemo 3 years ago during Covid said some of her toenails came off completely!

I’ve not read a lot of this in other threads, so thought I’d start a new one & ask here.

Thanks in advance


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I used polybalm while on chemotherapy finished chemotherapy October 2023 my finger nails are growing back nicely not using the polybalm now, but using nail oil and plenty of hand cream. Toe nails my big toes nails are very sore and lifting from the nail bed and black at the top of the nail. But the new growth looks healthier

My nails went ridged and I kept getting spirits on one thumb nail, down towards the quick, not across. Not too bad but happened for a while but eventually cleared up completely. My nails seem stronger than they used to now.

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Splits not spirits!

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My nails were very tender during paclitaxel treatment and 1 toenail felt off a couple weeks after it finished. I’m now on Abemaciclib and my nails are very weak, break easily, and are a funny colour. I wear a nail varnish base layer to try and give them some strength. The on going joys of BC treatment!!! Best Wishes everyone.


Take a look at the charity Lood Good Feel Good website. They do a free course on caring for your nails after treatment. I haven’t done that course but I have done their skin/make up one. Hope this helps x

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Hi Suedot, I had tnbc, with all the chemo that went with that. I had my nails done with shellac every 2 weeks. It is important to let the technicians know you are having treatment. I didn’t have any issues at all. Just bear in mind though, everyone is different, maybe I was lucky.

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Thank you everyone there are some really good suggestions here that I’ll follow up.

Exactly the same as mine, both finger nails and toe nails went black very early but months later the nail started peeling and coming off.
I’m now Two months after my chemo finished and having the injections and they still bad, very sore, I also have neuropathy in hands and feet so that’s not helping!
I’m sure we will have beautiful nails again very soon.

I had EC and docetaxol chemo last year. Someone on another forum recommended Hard as Hoof - I found it on Amazon, used it daily on my fingernails and nail beds and it was superb. Smells good too!

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I love my nails and honestly the whole way through chemo I was more determined to keep my nails than I was my hair :joy: I got my nails done every 3 weeks with gel nail polish (I know some people advise not to) but honestly I think that’s what kept my nails strong. I used cuticle oil every night as well and gloves when I was cleaning etc just to protect them.
Unfortunately my toenails were a whole different story 1 year on from chemo and I’ve still no big toenail!!

Thank you I’ll take a look for that.

Hi sue dot,

Taxol can cause a lot of nail damage, also neuropathy. I hope you have given the proper treatment for that. I later learned I should have started using hardening nail polish before starting chemo but I didn’t know. That said, you have to be careful which nail polish. I had bought one that supposedly would be fine but the YUKA app says no. If you can get Meme that one is good (has silicium).

Best wishes!

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So pleased to read this.
I had mine gelled ready for chemo !!!
Against the rules I know :joy: but I subscribe to the strengthening theory, so :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers: I’m the same xx
Tempted to get my toenails gelled too :scream:
Did you just get the toe nail drops off ???

:joy: My finger nails deffo were weaker by the end but in my opinion the gel did save them! They were back to 100 percent strength and lengthwise a couple of months after chemo. I think it’s the risk of infection eg when your cuticles are being pushed back, rather than the actual gel which is the issue? The girl who does mine though is very clean and she was super careful not to cause any cuts etc.

If I were to do it again (which hopefully I never have to :joy:) I would get my toenails done too! Mine just got really weak and sore when any pressure was put on them. All have grown back okay apart from one which is still causing issues- growing back strangely and then breaking again. Super frustrating- I’m a dab hand at using false toenails though now :nail_care:

Thank you all for your helpful comments. I fear I should have paid more attention to my nails during chemo and must now wait it out as the flaky stuff grows through. I literally have a ridge or white line across each nail representing each of my 7 treatments. It’s so strange what these chemo meds do to us!

Hi Suedot

Yes unfortunately my nails became very ridged on my hands and I lost my two big toenails :frowning_face:

I used polybalm expensive but nearly six months on after chemotherapy my nails have grown back lovely . My nails have never been in such good condition . Only my big toe nails discoloured

Check if you can get Meme in the UK. Healthy and safe dermo-cosmetics for people with cancer. I had the same issue but didn’t know Meme when I got what was sold to me at the chemist/pharmacy, which later on came out not to be the best but did its job. Later I heard of Meme through the breast cancer forum I belong to in Belgium. Best wishes!