Skin changes

What are they?
  • Skin redness, cracking, itching, peeling, dryness or acne
  • Nail changes
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun
What causes them?
  • Treatment with chemotherapy containing capecitabine
  • Treatment with radiotherapy (although this is rare with the doses used to treat metastatic breast cancer)
How to treat
  • Moisturising creams (ask a health professional for advice about what type to use)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Steroids (for severe cases)
  • Referral to an occupational therapist may be helpful

Tips to prevent and relieve symptoms of skin changes

The following tips are based on the experience of health professionals and women themselves:

  • wear sun protective clothes or use sun screen when you are in the sun
  • avoid irritants – protect the skin from chemicals (for example, perfumes, deodorants, hair dyes or hair spray)
  • keep skin folds dry
  • keep hydrated – drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated as dehydration is a common cause of skin dryness
  • avoid extreme weather conditions like severe cold and hot weather – these conditions can aggravate dry skin
  • wash clothes in a mild detergent – look for detergents labelled ‘allergen free’ or ‘unscented’.