For most mesothelioma patients, chemotherapy is going to be in the picture. Just as chemotherapy affects your hair because of the rapidly dividing hair follicle cells, chemotherapy side effects also changes your nails.
Frequently, mesothelioma patients may have to cope with chemotherapy side effects such as brittle nails or nail loss while undergoing chemotherapy. So are there any good tips for managing changes to nails during chemotherapy?
Yes. Here are some of the best practices tips we’ve found in the journal Oncology Nurse Advisor and other cancer patient resources for helping to prevent and relieve damage to nails caused by chemotherapy:
- Clip your nails short. Imperfections show up less in short nails.
- Don’t cut your cuticles. Use cuticle remover cream or gels and push your nails back gently.
- Don’t bite your nails or cuticles. If you have a hard time stopping, consider wearing thin white cotton gloves around the house to help you break this habit.
- Massage cuticle cream into the cuticle area daily to prevent dryness, splitting, and hangnails.
- Wear gloves while doing chores, such as washing dishes. Excessive exposure to water can lead to fungal infections of the nail bed.
- Also, wear gloves while doing any outside chores such as yard work to protect against infection-causing bacteria from soil contact.
- Wear nail polish to help keep nails strong and protected from the environment (and looking nice, too). If your nails are very dry or falling off, you might want to consider a nail moisturizer instead of polish.
- Dry nails can become weaker or more brittle during chemotherapy treatment. To take off polish, use non-acetone-based remover. It’s less drying than acetone.
- Don’t use acrylics or other nail wraps. Fake nails can trap bacteria that may cause infection.
- If you have a professional manicure, bring your own instruments, regardless of how the salon cleans theirs.
- Alert your doctor to any signs of inflammation or infection.