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Topic: taxol and nail problems

Forum: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer —

Share with others who have ER-/PR-/HER2- breast cancer.

Posted on: Aug 1, 2007 11:15AM

Renairis wrote:

A woman who is participating in a trial for recurrent bc that has metasticized is receiving a combo of avastin and taxol. She is having problems with her finger nails and has secretions and her nails are falling out. She is familiar with these side effects for taxotere but we haven't heard from the oncs. or in literature that these side effects occur as a result of taxol.
1.Is anyone familiar with these effects from either taxol or avastin?
2.Can anything be done to alleviate the symptoms?
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Aug 1, 2007 12:33PM luckymel wrote:

I had the same problem with Taxol, and am aware of a number of other people who lost nails. Most of us didn't have problems until toward the end of treatment, or even after it was over.

My opinion is that there is a big gap inn the literature regarding side-effects of Taxol. After losing nails, getting neuropathy, having constant tearing, and having peripheral edema so bad that I gained 25 pounds, and listening to my oncologist say over and over and over again "these aren't the side effects of Taxol," I wanted to scream. Since then, so many of my friends have had similar complaints, and heard the same thing, that I have to think there's something wrong with their info. Definitely, it's a side effect of Taxol!
Mel Dx 10/10/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 4/17 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2007 05:16PM Rainenz wrote:

Didn't loose any fingernails while on Taxol but had to be very careful as they would lift very easily and the skin under the nails peeled as the nails grew out.

Dx 1/1997 3.5cm Medullary, Grade 3, 6/14 nodes er-/pr-, her2 - Dx 6/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 29/34 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2007 07:43PM Toronto wrote:

I lost every fingernail and toenail after dose dense taxol and they are still sort of brittle and split easily a year later. I taped them down until they were very loose so it wasn't especially painful when they finally came off.

I've heard that keeping the hands cool during the treatment helps, some recommend gelatin.
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Aug 2, 2007 12:08AM Renairis wrote:

Mel Raine and mke
Thanks so much for your responses and I will pass this on to my friend. I am also on Taxol but may nails- so far are doing well! At least one less fretful side effect. You are right Mel that there's nor enough info.
If anyone else has advice - please add on!
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Aug 2, 2007 08:17AM jaepinkroses wrote:

My sister Debbie has had severe nail problems while on Taxol/Avastin/Carboplatin. (a little of her story: she is 47 & single, was diag in Dec 2004 with a 4x 6 cm mass in her left breast, had a single mastectomy in Jan 2005 w/one positive node of 17 tested, had A/C, finished and thought all was well....and then in Dec 2005 found out her triple neg B/C had recurred to her liver with "tumors too numerous to count up to 5 cm in size" (or maybe it was there all along since she wasn't scanned for it before it was found while she was scanned for possible gall bladder problems) and she has been on disability from work had to sell her house and move in with our parents and has been on pretty much non-stop chemo since Dec 2005...many different drugs and combos - most only worked for a short time. The Taxol/Avastin/Carboplatin mix has worked the longest so far and initially resulted in shrinkage of her tumors and then kept her cancer relatively stable for several months before she had to take a chemo break this spring/summer because of other issues)

On the latest Taxol/Avastin/Carboplatin mix after about three months her nails first became odd colored, then painful and partially lifted, and eventually several became infected underneath and oozed. After trying two different antibiotic treatments that didn't work, the infection was finally tested and found positive for a resistant kind of Staph and she had to take some heavy duty antibiotics and have six nails surgically removed by a plastic surgeon before her hands and feet finally healed. Since that, she's had another couple of nails just fall off. It's really affected her QOL since her hands and feet were so painful and she has a lot of other neropathy elsewhere too as well as sciatic nerve pain. The nail problem really only resolved during her almost three month break from chemo this spring/summer...and we just found out from her latest scans last week that her cancer has progressed dramatically again during the break...so she was put back on the Taxol/Avastin/carboplatin last Friday. Her Onc has told her that this is the last combo he knows to try...so if it doesn't work again now she doesn't know what to do and we're starting to feel a little desparate.... Anybody have a list of chemo's that have been helpful for Triple negative b/c liver mets so she could compare it against the list of what she's already had to see if there's anything her onc has missed? This board has been so helpful, even though I'm usually just a "lurker" gathering information for her rather than posting. You all have my greatest admiration for your willingness to help others while you're going through so much yourselves, you've already helped us more than you can know....thanks. Sorry this is so long, I should probably have posted my info request in a separate thread. jae
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Aug 2, 2007 09:24PM Ovrtrainbo wrote:

I finished chem June 27th and I can say that Taxol caused me to lose four toenails, so it's part of the drug I do believe for some.

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Aug 3, 2007 02:18AM chemosabi wrote:

My finger and toenails first turned purple. Easy enough to cover with nail polish. But one by one they feel off. Well didnt really fall off, more like they peeled off. Im 2 years out of treatment and my nails have never been stronger - so hang in there.

Waving hello to everyone
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Aug 10, 2007 05:45PM Indigoblue wrote:

Not just nails: nerves, numbness, neuropathy, oh my! My hands haven't recovered, feel like I'm putting them in boiling oil every time I wash my hands, which is often. Got so I zone the pain away, but a year later, the nails grow so fast, it's annoying. They look alright, skin is dry, cuticles always sore and peeling if I'm not careful. Aloe gell and various moisture creams, along with a well stocked supply of every glove for every need (white ones for bell chiming work great, soft...)

Hoped the "burning sensation" would get better; only got worse. Taxol side effect; the oncs and docs say "give it time". Who are they anyway, my mothers? She always used to say that...it never worked, and the time goes by too fast for my hands; I need to stay busy, and the hands keep going on strike. If I do anything, they swell; stiff joints, ouch. Typing on the laptop isn't too terrible, but it takes much longer and the computer doesn't like it.

Some nails fell off during treatment, and others grew on top of each other. The steroids (had to triple the dose because of allergic reaction) may have had something to do with it, and noone seemed to care about the neuropathy.
Guess it all goes with the chemoland terror territory...

Just one more small detail to "handle", lol.

Dx 11/30/2005, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 29, 2009 01:59PM lthomp21 wrote:

I as well have had difficulties with my nails after Taxol.  I agree with you that there is a gap in the information!  My oncologists continued to tell me that my leg and ankel edema had nothing to do with the taxol.  My nails started to fall off after I completed my taxol treatments.  I am 4 months post last Taxol dose and my nails are very discolored and look like I have a sever nail fungus.  The neuropathy in my feet is terrible and due to the pain numbness I'm not exercising like I used to and have gained sooo much weight!

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Dec 29, 2009 02:15PM jacee wrote:

I just finished week 11 of 12 taxol treatments, and haven't had any nail problems. Maybe still to come?  I hope not. It was recommended to me to by my onc nurse to rub my nails with tea tree oil but I never did. So far so good for me.

Have some toe neuropathy and facial numbness 1-3 days after treatment. And lots of acne looking bumps on neck, face, chest and arms.

Hoping all goes away after last treatment.

My body has cancer, my spirit does not! Dx 4/27/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 3/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/5/2009 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 6/6/2009 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/6/2009 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 1/4/2010 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/12/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/9/2010 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 10/9/2011 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Dec 29, 2009 06:09PM Padiddle wrote:

I had taxotere during my first diagnosis in 2000.  I had four rounds after 4 founds of adriamycin/cytoxan.  The taxotere made my fingernails hurt a lot.  They did fall out on most fingers and toes.  When treatment stopped, all grew back.  It was painful to do things like make my bed...things that you use the tips of fingers for.  It was temporary.  Sore throat and sinus headache were other side effects I had with taxotere.  Jean

Mets to sternum, ribs, thoracic and lumbar spine, femur, pelvis, lungs, skin, peritoneum, adrenal glands Dx 8/2000, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, 10/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/10/2000 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/17/2000 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/20/2001 Breast Dx 10/5/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, 1/1 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2010 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 11/30/2011 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 4/4/2012 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 11/26/2012 Gemzar (gemcitabine) Chemotherapy 2/4/2013 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 1/6/2014 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy 4/28/2014 Navelbine (vinorelbine)
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Dec 29, 2009 06:50PM lissette wrote:

I finished taxol 7 weeks ago and my nails are just starting to separate on my hands. My toe nails and fingernails got brittle and turned purple while on taxol. Fingernails are turning regular color again but separating. Toenails are just funky!

Lissette Dx 3/6/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 0/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 29, 2009 07:08PM Leah_S wrote:

I had my last taxol on April 30 and have had problems with my nails ever since. Toenails are pretty much back to normal, nails on left hand are back completely, nails on right hand a mess. Four of the five are slowly lifting from the nail beds and it's getting worse, not better. They also hurt from any soaps or cleaning fluids, and I have the same problem jmarie had with anything requiring the use of the tips of my fingers. Of course, the neuropathy in my fingertips, though it has somewhat abated, hasn't helped.

And let's not forget the neuropathy on the bottoms of my feet, which is still pretty bad.

Yes, the gift that keeps on giving.


Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 30, 2009 05:16AM dhorak wrote:

My last taxol treatment was over a year ago in July of 2008.  I still have lifting on some of my fingernails.  I do have acrylic nails because it bothers me to look at them.  And just like the previous post, I still have neuropathy in my hands and feet also.  I have been taking Curcumin and Pycnogenol that I get from Vitamin World and it really does help the neuropathy symptoms.  When I ran out of the supplements,  the symptoms came back. So at least in my opinion, they do work.

Denise Dx 2/12/2008, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/33 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2010 07:14PM sue_profit1942 wrote:

I was told that there were no side effects to the Avastin. I'm sorry to hear that others are having the same problem I am having. I finished Taxol in January, 2010 and am still on Avastin as a clinical trial. My nails are now starting to separate from my fingernails, and only one of them is painful. I've trimmed the nails very short so I don't snag them on anything and pull them loose faster, but apparently that is a futile effort, since so many others have lost their nails. It's good news that they will finally come back in, but I imagine I will lose a few completely before that happens. You're right, the docs don't tell you everything. Remember . . . when something is going to be painful as heck, they say "you'll experience a little discomfort"!

Suzanne Dx 5/5/2009, LCIS, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/4 nodes, ER+/PR-

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