Taxotere Nails - Help

I’m going to start Taxotere on the 21st June, switching from EC.
I’ve read a bit about people losing their toe/finger nails and I’m finding it all a bit confusing…
Can anyone give their experience of the following:

  1. Does dark nailpolish really help protect from losing them and how?

  2. Doesn’t it hurt like hell having no nails? (thinking how much it stings if you take off part of nail!!)

  3. Can you do household tasks when nails coming off?

Thanks again lovely people :slight_smile: xxx

Yes dark polish really helps [darker the better] as does putting your finger tips in a bag of frozen peas or iced water while chemo goes in.
oddly it doesnt hurt just a bit sensitive-I only lost one big toe nail[cos of polish] and new one was growing up behind it when it fell off.
You’d need to wear gloves for housework but it is very very unlikely that all your nails will go though they may become ridged or thickened.
good Luck

Thanks :slight_smile: I wonder WHY dark polish helps losing them, seems very bizarre… I thought it was a hiding discolouration thing. This is why I love the forums, they dont’ tell you this stuff at hospital. Hope it is OK anyway and glad I can still get on with things! I’d go mad if I couldn’t. xx

I was told that they want to stop the light gettign through to the nail bed - for some reason the light makes the nail bed even weaker - hence the darker the polish, the better. I found a bottle of black in the Rimmel range in the local chemist - not tried it yet! Not quite sure I’m ready to go Goth, but if it helps, I will. Also bought more usual dark (purple etc)

HI :slight_smile:
I had my last tax of 4 on 14th april. I havnt lost any nails. I used nail envy from opi, which is a clear polish and then a coloured polish on the top, usually a red or coral colour. I was doing my nails every couple of days, and used a acetone free remover.
There are lots of nail ‘finishes’ about, like crackle glazes that make your nails look nice, barry m do lots.
My nails now have a yellow tinge, ridges and split from the top, but that is all.
I know i have been very lucky with my nails, and hope this helps you.
kerry xxx

El K: “Doesn’t it hurt like hell having no nails? (thinking how much it stings if you take off part of nail!!)”

You’re thinking about comparing a torn nail due to sudden accidental trauma and a slower degeneration and subsequent falling-off.

I have had “Mountaineer’s Toenail” many, many times, and from what I can gather about Tax Nail, it is very similar. With Mountaineer’s Toenail, the nail goes black/brown and only drops off as it starts to grow out, by which time the nail bed underneath has already hardened up. So I have never had a sore nail bed from it.

Maybe an experienced Tax Nailer can confirm if the experience is similar?

BTW, my Tax Love starts on 22 June or 3 weeks later; not been confirmed yet if I’m going to be 3+5, 4+4 or 5+3.

Hi everyone, yes I too have heard about the nails thing with Tax, I was lucky enough to get advice from Horace about the dark nails and frozen peas/ice water… I painted my nails purple, I do have a selection of black and very dark red, plus I use a hardener, I have read on the internet about a product beginning with T, and cant think chemo brain, but its for eyebrows and eyelahes which i hear also can suffer on tax, tho I as I am learning we are all different, i also found my nails on fec (hd 3) got longer and stronger, Im now 2 weeks post tax and so far so good but dont know how long it takes to kick in. Def read about the sunlight affecting them hence the dark colours, good luck to us all on the tax, keep us posted with all the tips/advice etc, lots of love Shar xxxx

Great advice there, thanks again! The forum is such a valuble resource. I understand now that light affects the nailbed, therefore blocking it out is a good idea and glad to hear it doesn’t hurt all the time if you lose your nails! Just not nice looking but then I suppose I don’t feel nice looking a lot of the time anyway at the moment, just have to ride it all out. xxx

I loved my dark purple nailpolish and new image that brought since I don’t usually bother with any! Yes, I used hardener as well. So far nails are a peculiar colour but not falling off - I put that down to the frozen peas - but do ask you hospital since they might have ice mits and slippers since one poster a while ago said she’s asked and they dug some out for her …
Agree we need this sight so that knowledgeable info from some BCNs and individual research is shared.
You sound very prepared El Katrano - great to hear about your positive approach - best wishes

I have spoken to the Haven Herbalist about the nails thing. She suggested rubbing nourishing oil into the cuticles and nails (sans polish) for a couple of weeks before the Tax starts. She said I could use the Comfrey oil that she gave me for post-op bruising. I also have some nail-specific Jessica Phenomen oil that I got from a salon once.

Three weeks sans polish sounds harsh as I always polish my toes in summer and ATM, I keeping my fingernails polished as a femininity thing since the hair loss.

She gave/sold me a bag of dried comfrey leaves and a recipe to make up a poultice that will soothe the finger tips and toe tips during treatment. The BCN and I spoke to a lady on the next chemo couch yesterday and she said that by the end of her Tax, she had slight discolouration, had worn dark polish and but hadn’t lost a single nail.

I am really confused… On Tuesday I asked my SpR oncologist about the nails on tax. She said that only 50% of the patients get nail problems & v v rarely infections on tax & the dark nail polish thing is more like a placebo effect. She said that it’s because if your nails are polished in dark colour you are less likely to see the darkening underneath and therefore if you don’t see it you think it’s ok & in that sense it’s actually better not to paint them dark as you’ll be more alert towards any signs and symptoms & can seek help early if your nails are in the process of getting an infection, etc… I also asked her about the cold treatment to nails & again she said that it doesn’ work. Yesterday I asked these same questions to my chemo nurse & she said the same thing . She told me that in her 6 years of working as a chemo nurse she has never come accros anyone who had these problems on Tax ! She even went on to say that maybe if you were having acrylic nails done prior to chemo that nay have exacerbated the effects as they damage your nails & if you chemo on top that could cause bad nail reactions. She advised me to get a good hand massage to situmulaye blood flow to nails & maybe some nail strengthening creams prior to tax

I am also due to start tax on 22nd Ninja, so I hope it treats us ladies good. I am indecisive about the nail varnish & cold treatment & really don’t know what to do now… Before Tuesday I was all set up for dark nail varnish & cold peas!:frowning:

Bdw wots 3+4, 3+5, etc you mentioned mean Ninja?

I would love to hear from any ladies who did not use nail varnish & cold treatment and no/little nail problems.



I also kept my finger nails coloured with a very dark polish, dark brown in my case with a layer of OPI nail envy base coat and a top coat of silver sparkle just to add a bit of bling. Although several of the nails developed blackish patches I never actually lost any. However I did find that the problem carried on for several months after my last tax.

I didn’t paint my toenails however and am still having problems 2 years later with frequent visits to the chiropodist required. I lost both my big toe nails and as they regrow they are uneven and cause more or less constant ingrowing nails.

Good Luck and happy nail growing


Ladies, just wanted to share my experience with you.

I finished my Taxotere at the beginning of February and did not use nail polish during treatment. During the chemo my nails continued to grow and only a couple of my finger nails started to discolour towards the end of March. By this time, the discolouring was about half way down my nails as the nails had started to grow in healthy. Now the two nails are still a bit brittle and discoloured at the end but I just keep cutting them short and wear polish now.

My toenails are a bit ridged but no discolouring. What I would say is that during chemo I used loads and loads of handcream on both my finger and toe nails - I used to have a tube of hand cream with shea butter in every room in my house and every time I sat down I moisturized - cost me a fortune.

Good luck and hope that the Taxotere is not too unkind to those of you due to start treatment.


I agree with redrobin; looking after your hands must help. I also bought some boxes of those latex-free thin gloves that the nurses use in hospital so I could use a different set for each chore eg: preparing food, doing the washing, loading the dishwasher, washing the kids etc etc as I tried to avoid too much hand washing and exposing the nails to detergent. I also had some thin leather gloves to wear outside. I was told that the theory behind the nail varnish was to block the UV rays as the nails are weakened and let the rays in. Not sure if this is an old wives tale, but looking after your nails is a good idea anyway.