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How To Save Your Nails During Chemo?

Coping and treatment for nail changes during chemotherapy.

“Nail changes occur more often in patients receiving targeted therapies and certain chemotherapy drugs such as paclitaxel and docetaxel. These changes are typically cosmetic, meaning the texture or color of the nails is affected, but some patients do experience pain and discomfort in their nails. While prevention is difficult, there are simple steps you can take to manage nail changes.” – source: mskcc.org

Many cancer organizations share their tips on how to protect your nails during chemo. We’ve curated a list of all the best tips. Oh, and you can submit your tips or add comments to tips submitted by others.

#1 If an infection is suspected

"If an infection is suspected, soak nails for 15 minutes every evening in a solution of white vinegar and tap water in equal amounts." - source: cancer.net

"Alert your doctor to any signs of inflammation or infection." - source: dana-farber.org

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#2 Nail Problems in Cancer Survivors

"Memorial Sloan-Kettering skin care expert Mario Lacouture discusses the effects of cancer treatment on nails. Learn about MSK: https://www.mskcc.org" - source: Memorial Sloan Kettering / Youtube

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#3 Keep your nails clean and cut short

"Keep your nails clean and cut short to avoid accidentally tearing them. Protect your hands and nails by wearing gloves when you wash the dishes, or clean the house, for example. Avoid getting manicures and pedicures. Don’t wear tight-fitting shoes. Ask your nurse to recommend products that can be used to treat nail problems." - source: cancer.gov

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#4 Nail-strengthening products

"Your healthcare team can suggest ways to manage changes to fingernails and toenails. Ask them about using over-the-counter nail-strengthening products. They will also tell you how to care for cracks in the skin around the nails with padding or a liquid bandage." - source: cancer.ca

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#5 Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes

"Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes so that your toenails aren’t pressed into the front of your shoe." - source: compassoncology.com

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#6 Don’t bite your nails or cuticles

"Don't bite your nails or cuticles, particularly on the hand on the same side as your affected breast. If you have a hard time stopping, consider wearing thin white cotton gloves around the house to help you break this habit." - source: breastcancer.org

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#7 Nail cooling during treatment

"Cooling gloves - You may be able to protect your nails by wearing special cooling gloves and socks during the infusion of chemotherapy." - source: cancerconnect.com  

"Ask your doctor or nurse if you can place cold packs on your hands and feet while you’re getting chemotherapy. If you can, start using them 15 minutes before each chemotherapy infusion starts and keep them on until 15 minutes after the infusion is finished."

"For more information, ask your nurse for the resource called Nail Cooling During Treatment with Taxane-based Chemotherapy" - source: mskcc.org

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#8 Avoid manicures

"Oncologists often recommend you avoid manicures, but if you do have them done bring your own instruments." - source: ucla.edu

"Ask a professional manicurist for more information on daily home care to keep your nails healthy and strong." - source: dana-farber.org

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#9 About marks on your nails

Like the rings of a tree, I have rings in my nails. I'm assuming they correlate to each chemo treatment which is pretty interesting to me. And kinda cool. Human bodies are something else ?

Publiée par Tina for Remission sur Mardi 14 février 2017

"Don't worry about marks on your nails as they will grow out in time."

"Cover marked nails with nail varnish if you like but avoid quick drying ones as they can make your nails even drier." - source: cancerresearchuk.org

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#10 Gentle removers

"Dry nails can become weaker or more brittle during chemotherapy treatment. To take off polish, use a remover that doesn't contain acetone, ethylacetate, or other harsh solvents. There are gentle removers specifically for water-based nail polish." - source: breastcancer.org

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#11 Use nail varnish

"Use nail varnish to hide discolouration but not if your nails are split." - source: macmillan.org.uk

"avoid nail varnish as it tends to dry the nails out more, or you could try a water-based version as this is less harsh" - source: breastcancercare.org.uk

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#12 If your nails break or lift off

Shit broken chemo affected nails !! ?

Publiée par Julie Voss sur Vendredi 6 mars 2015

"If your nails break or lift off try to keep them clean and protected. Covering the nail with a band-aid can protect it from trauma. Clean with soap and warm water and apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day." - source: oncolink.org

"If your nails are split, use a topical antiseptic cream, such as Savlon, to reduce the risk of infection." - source: bcna.org.au

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#13 If you go to a dermatologist, a skin doctor

"If you go to a dermatologist, a skin doctor, make sure to explain that you are getting breast cancer treatment. Nail changes can look like fungus, and you don’t want to get an anti-fungal treatment if you don’t need it." - source: lbbc.org

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#14 Massaging the nail with oil

"Soaking your nails in or massaging the nail with oil, such as vegetable or olive, helps replace moisture lost from water exposure. These natural oils lack the alcohol containing fragrance often found in commercial nail products." - source: oncolink.org

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#15 Skip acrylics or nail wraps

"Skip acrylics or nail wraps during your cancer treatment. Moisturizing is a better option than fake nails, which can trap bacteria." - source: upmc.com

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