Taxotere Side Effects

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me? I have posted on here just once before. My sister has HER 2+ and has just finished 4 x FEC and 4 x Taxotere and is just waiting on Radiotherapy and Tamoxifen and 1 year of Herceptin. She finished her chemo over three weeks ago. Her hair started to grow back during her taxotere chemo, but it is growing very slowly and not very thickly - is this common? Will it thicken up? She had very thick hair before! Another thing is that her nails have turned very white and brittle and seem almost to be moving in the nail bed. She thinks they are all going to come out - Is this likely to happen?

I would really appreciate it if there is anyone with similar experiences to let me know.

Many thanks

Penny x

hi Penny

I’ve just finished 3x fec and 3 x tax and I’m having the same probs as your sister.

My nail beds are killing me, but I don’t think they’ll fall off - at least I hope not, they are really painful though. The only advice I can give is to keep then really short that seems to help.

My Hair is rubbish too, loads of fluffy growth and no real hair. I’ve been told it will thicken up, patience is required and it could take 3 months to start looking sensible.

Good luck

Ang xx

Thanks Ang

It is so difficult for me as my sister lives down in Oxfordshire and I live in Yorkshire. I am trying to help by doing as much research as I can for her and I have found this website great. It is just good to find out that my sister’s symptoms are not out of the ordinary!

Thanks for replying - I hope that everything goes well - I am sure your hair doesn’t look rubbish - it will be lovely and soft, if nothing else. I think having cancer you can be overly critical on yourself. I last saw my sister about 6 weeks ago and she was complaining that she looked so awful - but in fact she looked beautiful!

Take care

Penny x

Hello Penny,

I had the same treatment as your sister, although I am on Arimidex and not Tamoxifen. My hair started to come back when I started Taxotere. At first it was very sparse, and I thought I would be left with bald patches all over the place, but now, 6 months down the line, (I finished chemo 1st November 07), I have a full head of hair two and a half to three inches long…unfortunately its come back very grey, but I will be getting it coloured soon!

As for the nails, mine were similar to your sisters. It was as if the white tip had travelled all the way down my nails to the cuticles, and they were ridged crossways. My Onc said there was one ridge for each taxotere. They are now growing out with only a single ridge on each nail to go. I didn’t loose any fingernails, although one big toenail has fallen off, and the other will probably follw suit soon!

So, in short, yes her hair will thicken up, and her nails will improve.


Hi Justme

Thats brilliant - thanks very much. I will make sure my sis reads your comments.

Good luck for the future.

Penny xx

Hi Penny,

I would echo what Justme said, except my hair is growing more slowly. I had my last tax in Sept, and I have maybe an inch and a half of hair now. There has been some speculation that herceptin slows the growth?

It came back patchy to begin with but thickened up after a few more weeks. Now it is much thicker than it ever used to be.

I never lost any nails, although many of them were loose in the nail beds. Now all my nails are OK with the exception of my big toes - on these I have big ridges half way up, with nice new nail below the ridge and horrible discoloured nail above.

Hi RoadRunner

Thanks for your comments - It is good to know that my sister’s hair will grow back eventually - given a bit of time. Her nails, I know are giving her a bit of pain, but everyone seems to be in the same boat who have taken tax.

Thanks again!

Penny x

Hi Penny

I had 3 FEC and 3 TAX the last of which was in November. My finger nails ridged at least 3 times each but are all now back to normal although still quite weak. My hair is thicker than it used to be and is now starting to curl, it was poker straight before. I can only cope with it if I use gel which I don’t think I should but tough, its alot lighter than before but not grey. I didn’t notice any re-growth during TAX and my eye lashes and eye brows fell out which was harder than the hair because I felt I then looked ill, but they are all back now. Hair stopped growing whilst I was having rads but is going great guns now. I was just starting to think it was all getting back to normal when my toe nails started falling off last week.
The only noticable damage I have now is collapsed veins in my chemo arm, I have long ridges from my elbow to my hand, has anyone else noticed this and does it improve with time.

I hope your sister continues to improve, the regime is so tough you really don’t realise it until you go through it either personally or with someone close to you. I am sure she gets loads of support from you, just one word of advice, if she hates her hair she hates it and no amount of trying to pacify her will work, just let her rant occasionally it does help!!

AJ xxx

Hi Penny

What a lovely sister you must be. I had three FEC and three tax as well, finishing last October. My nails did fall out (in fact the left big toenail went about three weeks ago!). I was going to make a necklace of them but everyone told me not to be so disgusting. It didn’t actually hurt but was a bit tender, and made me very clumsy. They are growing back now but are very flaky. Hair went after the first FEC and didn’t reappear during tax (except a bit on my legs). Now I have about a quarter of an inch all over, and I am plucking up courage to go out in it soon without a head cover! I think mine is slower than some but it is coming. Like AJ I lost all body hair but eyebrows and lashes have been back for some time now. One comforting thing you can tell your sister is that no one seems to notice! She will know but people are incredibly unobservant. You might like to see if there are any of the LookGoodFeelBetter workshops in her area. They teach you amazing things about make up and you come away feeling brilliant and with a wonderful goodie bag of free cosmetics.

Wish you both luck