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HELP loosing finger nails

37 REPLIES 37
SML1903
Member

Re: loosing finger nails, is this true.

Hi Jan 1808.

Thanks for your reply it has been very helpful. I must admit I did start eating a lot of fish while having chemo but have gradually reduced the amount and planned to go completely back to a vegetarian diet as soon as possible. I can't say I have enjoyed eating fish very much as I felt so guilty. I am now wondering if reducing the amount of fish in my diet has had a negative effect on my nails and hair. I don't think I have ever mentioned that I was vegetarian to my oncologist though, may be I should have. You are right about doing all you can to get better so I think I am going to look into how best to improve my diet. I have also been using nail and cuticle oil but up to now nothing special for my hair so I will also investigate that as well. Thank you again x

Jan1808
Member

Re: loosing finger nails, is this true.

I was a veggie pre chemo and oncologist advised me to eat meat to help recovery, I would do anything to get better, so now I eat meat, feel very well and have no problem. My hair started to make a valiant comeback soon after last chemo and is doing well. Only lost one thumb nail well after chemo finished. Used Sally Hanson nail strengthener throughout, one in a silver bottle. Nails are strong and healthy. Used organic coconut oil regularly on scalp/eyebrows, also under eyes to avoid darkening skin. Don't know if any of this has been helped by eating meat, but all I know is that I would give anything a go, good luck, xx
SML1903
Member

Re: loosing finger nails, is this true.

Hi. I finished chemo at the end of July, FEC-T and lost all but 4 finger nails. They started to regrow but now I am loosing some of them again. I started taking multi vitamins and minerals for hair, nails and skin as soon as I finished chemo. Have since had surgery and now waiting to start radiotherapy. My hair has only just started to regrow and very slowly. I am just wondering if the fact that I am a vegetarian has anything to do with my nails and slow hair regrowth. Anyone else a vegetarian with similar problems or any suggestions.

Rose_M
Member

Re: loosing finger nails, is this true.

Hi PollyEmma - I am very sorry to hear of your diagnosis - this is a very tough time for you. I finished my chemo four weeks ago and am starting to feel stronger again now - there is light at the end of the tunnel but I remember how I felt when everything was ahead of me rather than behind me. Its worth reading my post of 19/9/14 in this thread where I recommended OnicoLife from mosaiclife.co.uk. I was in the same position as you in that I was only told I would lose my hair and was shocked to find I might lose my nails as well. Luckily this product was recommended to me and without using any other product or painting them black they have survived chemo very well and given me no problems. No pain, no discolouring, no lifting and only very slight ridging. I wish you lots of luck over the coming months. Take care xx

Bali2001
Member

Re: loosing finger nails, is this true.

You don't seem to have had a reply to this! ....... Some advise painting nails in a dark colour to stop uv getting to them , I also use nail oil daily , loads of hand cream and wear gloves for ALL household chores, I am very lucky that someone got me some polish only available in Europe which I can't seem to find in uk, I used on toes and they are now brilliant , nails had started to dis colour so I am using it on hands now too ..... If I find it in the uk I will post the details x
PollyEmma
Member

loosing finger nails, is this true.

I have just been diagnosed and told I will be having chemo. I was aware I was going to loose my hair but knew nothing about loosing nails. Is this true, can painting them help?

Thanks in advance
msmcann
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Ladies. There is a hair weave you wear under a hat or scarf to give the appearence of hair run by a charity called Heather's Hair www.heathershair.co.uk. I order one and it saved my sanity as found my wig just too much hair. Hope they can help any of you.

Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Thanks Rose-m got some on order!!!
M x
June_BCC
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hello Rose_m

 

Welcome to the forums.

As well as the forums we also have a support helpline where the staff can offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

 

Best wishes,

June moderator

Rose_M
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hello Ladies. I have just finished my FECT-T treatment - I had my last chemo five days ago on Monday 15th Sept. Before I started, I was recommended a nail product called OnicoLife from mosaiclife.co.uk. Before my first chemo I took all varnish off my toes and fingernails and this is the only product I have put on them - twice a day every day. I don't want to speak too soon because I know that the nails can be the last thing to go after the final docetaxel, but so far my nails are doing OK and I have had no pain or loss, and only very minor discolourment and ridging. They look almost normal and I have worn flip-flops for most of the summer. I'm hoping I wont have nail problems during this last cycle, but if I do at least I have managed to hold on to them for as long as possible.

 

Hope this helps and good luck to all of you with your chemos xx

Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Thanks joan47...... A friend has given me some nail treatment from France which apparently Kyle used (???) it's called GEN-ONGLES color which she swears by she used it on her nails but forgot her toes ....she lost some toes but hand nails stayed fine so she thinks this helped. Not sure it will work but going to give it a go!!!
joan47
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Bali. The effects were only apparent late on when my finger nails suddenly started to go brown about halfway up and then a ridge developed at the cuticle end and gradually lifted. I don't know whether having dry finger tips will necessarily mean you have nail problems. I also had numbness in my finger tips and peeling skin.

Joan
Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Joan
Can you tell be how it started please? I am only on 2nd fec and my finger ends are becoming dry and painful ...... I am loading cream on but the skin seems to be cracking , I am using dark polish as that's what i was told to do ......I really feel for you its an awful side effect that I knew nothing about before as you say it's hardly mentioned ! A friend told me about it as it happened to her mum ..... Before that i was clueless never heard of it! ..... It's so visable and there is no wig to cover them up is there ! I am going to get my looking good feeling better DVD out and see what the advice is on there...... If there are any good tips I will post them xx
joan47
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hello ladies. Just come across this thread. I am one of the 'wore dark polish but losing my nails' group. My nails seemed to be doing well until almost the end of chemo when some of them started to separate from the cuticle end. 6 weeks from the end of chemo I have now lost two fingernails and one toenail and other fingernails are clearly going to go as well. I am finding this more difficult than losing my hair because it looks horrible and feels sore since The new fingernails don't even come halfway up the nail bed. Currently having to wear finger bandages. If any more go I may have to resort to gloves! This is a side effect which seems to be downplayed in the literature. I have been surprised by how much it has affected me. This may be, of course, because other bigger anxieties like whether the chemo will work, whether I will need a mastectomy, have been dispelled.
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Bali2001

I have been trying out scarves and while they look ok they do make my head really hot even though they are cotton. My wig on the other hand since I lost all my hair does not  but I think it's because it is more of an open weave.

I'll ask on Thursday at my pre-op assessment but thanks  for your help anyway they may suggest a paper cap. xxx

Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

They gave me a paper cap to wear over my hair when I had my line in last week as it was falling out so bad I was worried that it would shed all over the place , so I think it would be a good idea to mention it so it's one less thing to worry about ! Xxx
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

I know what you mean about feeling awkward about wearing a wig, I feel very concious of it when I go out and my worst nightmare is that it will come off. My latest worry is what will I do when I have my surgery next week as I do not like scarves and just wear nothing on my head at home. I dont expect they will let me wear it when I go to theatre and dont really want to go down bare headed. May be I will have to ask when I go for my pre-op assessment on Thursday. I think I might have a go at trying a scarf and see how I get on just in case. xx

Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Got my wig fitted at same time ...... I just feel awkward as i KNOW it's a wig .... I keep trying to think about a friend of mine who has alepecia so will never get hair back and get it in perspective ..... I will be keeping a close eye on the nails now though for sure! I always had acrylic nails pre all this and obviously had to take them off which upset me , but tried to look at it as a chance to break the habit and grow my own back! Looks like that idea might be a bit of a pipe dream😄😄😄xx
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Really glad to hear ravensk1 that your nails have grown back now but like you said loosing them is quite distressful. I do use cuticle cream and oil twice a day and am now taking vitimins  so hope that will help. I did try shellac and the results were great but when I had it removed my nails were quite damaged so I think I will stay clear of having it done again but great that it worked for you.

Are you still having treatment?

Best wishes xx

SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Dear Bali 2001

So sorry to hear about your hair loss as I can relate to that as it happened to me a few weeks into my chemo treatment. However much you try and prepare yourself it still comes as a shock when you find it in the shower. Have you got yourself a wig? I am really pleased with mine  and people say how good it looks but not sure if they're just trying to make me feel better. I saw 2 friends for the first time on Friday who I hadn't seen since I started treatment and the shock on their faces made me feel quite upset. They were both fine after a while though when we started chatting.

As for the nails I hope you manage to keep yours. I believe you can have  cold treatment ( quite like the cold cap for hair) for your hands which I didn't know about. You can only do your best and always keep in mind that they will grow back. I am taking hair, nail and skin vitamins which I started taking when I finished my chemo. I wanted to take them during chemo but the Oncology Pharmicist wouldn't say it was ok to take them or not in case it affected the chemo drugs. Good luck.

Big hug x

 

ravensk1
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

I too was distressed when my finger nails fell off. The upside is that they did start to grow back within about 6 weeks of radiotherapy finishing. I rubbed almond oil into them to encourage their growth and, because they grew back very soft and fragile, I had shellac put on them at a salon. It made them appear stronger and didn't damage the nails underneath. I'm a complete shellac convert now! Good luck with the remainder of your treatment - you will get there in the end and it will all be worth it. Xxxx
Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

I lost my hair today 😞 was quite difficult, but I am relieved it's all done as no more getting up worrying what state it will be in!....... I realise now how little I knew about all this ! I was clueless that we could lose fingernails , i really hope i can avoid that one..... My heart goes out to you , they will grow back but horrible to go through as you say its so visible .
Hope you manage to keep all the rest ,
Sending hugs xxxx
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Bali 2001

Thank you for your suggestion about the look good feel better site. I have had a quick look and it seems as if it would be quite useful. I have been moisturising my cuticles and using hand creams recomended by my oncology unit but still my nails are coming off. I have lost 3 now and the 4th one is just hanging on. Think I will just have to grin and bear it knowing they will eventually regrow.

Best wishes xx

Bali2001
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi girls
You could send for the look good feel better DVD it has loads of tips on caring for your nails , plus make up , skin care , wigs and hair coverings i found it really useful . Just google look good feel better and you will find it ..... Any problems let me know and I can post a link. They do ask for a £5 donation , but I found it really helpful. Also ask at your chemo unit as they do in-house sessions on skin and nail care which I have my name down for just waiting for an appointment . Xxx
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Debs

it is amazing how advise differs so I guess we just have to wait and see what happens to individuals, As they say each person reacts differently and none of us are the same (thank goodness).

Congratulations on finishing your radiotherapy which I have yet to have after my surgery in 10 days time. I have just had all information from the hospital today and it sort of makes it feel more real. I go for my pre-op assessment next Thursday so will have to spend some time next week sorting out what I will need to take into hospital with me.

Take care

Sheila x

Debs-
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi again Shelia, i also heard about nail varnish masking infection etc but my chemo nurse said it wasnt a problem and that I would do better by wearing it. Lol, but yes the debate goes on and different hospitals advise different things. I had my surgery , then chemo and then today was my last day of rads...yay. I continue with heceptin now and tamoxifen. I also finished chemo in july and started wearing varnish as soon as I started docetaxol on the advice I was given about nails, they said they even get the men ti wear it when they need tax as well but be it clear varnish if they dont wear darker as that stil helps apparently! !, it does not have to be black , a colour is just as good.  I wont knock it unless mine start falling off or going black...will let you know 🙂 X

SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Maryland

You are right about divided opinion on the wearing of dark nail varnish as I read today on a webside that dark nail varnish should be avoided. Like you said chemicals like varnish remover are not really a good idea to use on already fragile nails. I did have an infection in my toe nail while having chemo and it took ages to heal and  I had to have 3 weeks of double the normal strength of antibiotic. 

I am looking forward to the day I can go and have a manicure and pedicure along with a visit to the hairdressers to have my hair styled. 

Best wishes

Sheila

Maryland
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Sheila.....there is a real split of opinion on this issue 'to wear black nail varnish' or not! Even on this forum for every 'wore dark nail varnish and kept my nails' there is a 'wore dark nail varnish and lost my nails' etc. I was advised by my cousin who is a Consultant Dermatologist that there is no real evidence to support the wearing of dark nail varnish during taxane chemo treatment, and at the moment you are right it is advised by some chemo units for 'cosmetic' reasons i.e. if/when nails become discoloured. Toenails are usually less affected because of where they are apparently! However, dark polish may mask infection and it is probably not good to keep using nail varnish remover on fragile nails. There is some emerging evidence of using ice immersion, or gloves, a bit like the cold cap, to protect nails during TAX infusion in America....not sure if/how it has progressed here. Side effects affect us all differently; my Oncologist said the only 'given' was hair loss on FEC-T......and the debate will go on I am sure 🙂 Treat yourself to a lovely new nail varnish for when you have gorgeous nails again....all the best xx

SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hello Debs

I thought that wearing the dark nail varnish was purely cosmetic covering up the horrid browning of the nails. My oncology nurse didn't say it helped protect them so I wish I had known that as I would have worn it. But my toe nails are fine and I do wear dark nail varnish on them but didn't make the connection.

My chemo finished at the end of July. Have you had surgery?

Best wishes Sheila

Debs-
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hiya , before I started tax I was adviced to wear dark nail varnish to prevent loss of nails and to wear shoes that covered my toes rather than flip flops etc. I finished tax in july and so far so good. The chemo nurse told me the sun light interacts with the chemo under your nails and can contribute to black or loss of nails. So keep your nails out of the sun when possible and wear dark nail varnish on all nails. Hope this helps, all the best.
Maryland
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Sheila and Wendy

Sheila....that's brilliant news about how well chemo has worked for you....hope your op is successful and radiotherapy should be fairly straightforward with few side effects. This is a great place to ask questions and share the benefit of experience.

Wendy......it's difficult for anyone to predict what side effects (if any) individuals will get; however this is a link (hope you're not having your dinner!) to nail care during chemo. Pam Stephan is an 11 year bc survivor and respected in US. http://breastcancer.about.com/od/lifeduringtreatment/tp/fingernail_disorders.htm

Most days I feel like all this happened to someone else nearly 3 years ago, whilst other days am still aware of lumpy WLE scar, chemo/RT side effects and Anastrozole SEs that make me feel like a 90 year old.....take care both of you, all the best xx

SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Maryland and Wendy

It's so good to be able to chat to others going through the same treatment. It just shows that the professionals don't always know everything but then I guess it's a lot to expect them to if they have not had patients suffering with the side effects.

In 2 weeks, 8th Sept, I have surgery Lymph node clearance and WLE so will have more questions no doubt. The good news is that the chemo worked and reduced my tumour so that I don't need a mastectomy now  as my surgeon first said I did. Then after surgery I have radiotherapy so hopefully it will all be done by Christmas and I can start to feel myself again.

Hopefully Wendy you will not get the red and peeling hands or nail loss and i hope all goes well with your treatment. 

 

Take care

Sheila xx

WP23
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Maryland an Sheila,

How scary to think that we could lose nails even after treatment!! Thanks for the tips, I haven't had any red or peeling skin (yet) possibly something to look forward to!!?? Not, lol 🙂

Wendy xx
SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Maryland

Thank you for your reply. It is reasuring to know this is a normal side effect of Tax. So sorry you went through the same thing but good to hear your nails grew back and were strong as well. I don't think I would have been so concerned if my oncology nurse hadn't said she had not heard of anyones nails actually coming off. Your explanation of the effect of chemo on the root cells makes sense. I have started taking a supplement for hair, nails and skin so hopefully this will help all my problem areas.

I have a telephone appt with my GP this week so will ask about the cream you suggested for my hands.

 

Thank you again and best wishes

Sheila x

Maryland
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Sheila....as Wendy says nail discolouration/loss is a side effect of TAX. You may notice nail discolouration (particularly on taxanes) as the nail root cells are killed by the chemotherapy. These dead cells push out as new cells are produced, leaving the discolouration. The effect of chemotherapy affects keratin production, the protein that gives nails their strength and rigidity, which can cause brittle nails. sometimes the nail may separate from the nail bed. For every TAX treatment, the nail stops growing and you may notice up to three ridges on some/all nails. I found that keeping them short, well moisturised and using a clear nail strengthener helped, although many of mine (including toenails) fell off between 1 and 3 months after end of treatment in July 2012. By December my finger nails were long and strong again; toenails took a little longer!

The red, peeling skin is also a side effect...ask your GP for some Doublebase (or similar) cream/gel...can't remember now......but it was brilliant, in a huge bottle with dispenser and lasted for ages!!!

If you've finished chemo, ask your Onc about taking a supplement like hair, skin and nails (available from H & B) which has helped me.

All the best and hope some of this helps? With best wishes....x

SML1903
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Wendy

Thanks for your reply. I always keep my nails short because of my job so there"s no problem catching them. I have noticed though that they have stopped growing in the last few weeks as I usually give my self a manicure once a week but recently I haven't had to file them. They seem to be coming away at the side of the nail and 1 is just about hanging on. I'm tempted to just pull it right off but don't want to cause any further damage. When I was having chemo I asked my nurse about loosing my nails but she said she had not had anyone with that problem. However I have to go to the Oncology unit next week to have my porta-cath flushed so I will show them and see what they say. Just hope they grow back as I am very concious about having good hands and nails. I have lost all my hair and wear a wig but find loosing my nails much harder to deal with but guess that is because hands and nails are more noticeable. Have you suffered with red inflamed and peeling on the backs of your hands and wrists? This seems to be another side effect of Tax. Sorry this sounds all doom and gloom.

Best wishes

Sheila x

WP23
Member

Re: HELP loosing finger nails

Hi Sheila

I have had 3 TC and had fairly long nails until this weekend when everytime I was doing something one of them snapped off!! so airing on the side of caution I have cut them all off so that they don't catch on anything. Im sure I read somewhere that it is SE of Tax!!

Wendy x
SML1903
Member

HELP loosing finger nails

Hi

I finished my chemo 3 weeks ago, FEC-T and over the weeks my nails have gone sort of light brown in colour. This morning I noticed my thumb nail on my right hand was a bit loose but then about 10 minutes ago I was doing something and my nail on my forefinger, left hand almost came right off. What can I do and has anyone else had this problem?

Sheila