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Heat and itchy skin

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2728
Joined: Jun 2010

For the past few months, I've developed extreme all-over itching when I get hot - hot flash, hot weater, exercise, anything that heats my skin. It's making me crazy because it's getting hot now. It goes away immediately when I get cooled down. It's like what I imagine prickly heat to be, except not rash or redness. Anyone have/had this? I see oncologist on the 23rd, and this is hardly an emergency, just makes me want to tear all my clothes off (not a pretty sight) or stand in front of an a/c. Because I've never had this before, and because I'm a cancer survivor, it's worrying me.


Chickadee1955's picture
Posts: 336
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Suzanne,

Yes! I have the pricky skin sensation, usually when I am over heated or when I bathe. I mentioned it to my oncologist. She said it wasn't related to BC or chemo (of course, once you're done with chemotherapy they seem to think nothing is related, don't they?) She suggested it might be dry skin. I use lotion and try to keep cool. Sorry I don't know what else to suggest.

See you the 25th!


Mitzi333's picture
Posts: 511
Joined: Feb 2011

I definately experience that itchy, prickly feeling when I get hot...also when taking a shower or bath. I also get hot flashes whenever I wear a hat and wigs. Once I cool down it quickly goes away. I try to keep lotion on to avoid the dry skin. Hopefully, this too when pass, when chemo is over. I still have 3 rounds of chemo to resume in July.

At one time my palms and the sole of my feet were also very itchy. The onc gave me some Aquaphor, Really helped...

Not sure what I'm going to do when I return to work in Sept, since wearing wigs also make me Real hot and ultimately itchy. Hopefully by then, I won't have the itch attacks and hot flashes. ;0(

Any Suggestions???

Thanks for the post.
Mitzi ;0)

Apaugh's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: Aug 2016

I cannot stand my wig.  I just cant wear it.  I wear scarves and knitted beanie caps.  Sometimes both at same time.  And when I am home alone, I take them all off, until I get cold again.   Do what makes you comfortable.  

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

I, too, experience the all-over itching when I get hot and then it goes away when I cool down. I get itchy when I'm in the shower, too. I finished chemo October 27, 2010 and it started to appear early this year. My oncologist does not think it's related to the chemo in any way. It's starting to happen less often and it isn't quite so intense.

poplolly's picture
Posts: 346
Joined: Apr 2011

I am so glad you asked that. I've had that prickly feeling and I thought it might be in my head! And I'm like you, I haven't told anyone because it seems trivial. Thank you everyone for confirming my sanity.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2728
Joined: Jun 2010

Oh, of course not! "They" won't blame anything on the chemo once it's over. We're supposed to recover completely. Well, how about it went around our bodies doing damage and some of the damage is permanent? All I know is I didn't have this B4 I had chemo (or cancer) just like I had hair before I had chemo and now have only about 40%.

I'm making a list. I see my oncologist on the 23rd and will tell her all the odd things I have now that I didn't have a year ago.

It is interesting to learn from some of you that you, too, have this not related to chemo anomaly. I would not have done anything different - the chemo was important I think. I just wish they'd own up to after effects.


emamei's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: Feb 2011

I finished chemo on March 31, 2011. I have had insatiably itchy skin since mid-April. I believe it is related to chemo as our skin begins to get back to normal, shedding and growing new skin and hair, and our bodies cleansing all the chemo chemicals out.

I'm 42 years old and I asked about the hot flashes, sometimes so overwhelming I need to cool down in a shower, or like today, run ice cold water over my head after being outside for a bit. I was told that chemo could very well have thrown me into early menopause which would also explain all the physiological changes.

phoenixrising's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Feb 2007

I've found the hormonal therapy...tamoxifen, aromasin affects my skin and it becomes itchy. It's an itch that continues even if you scratch...so annoying!! Just to add to "can't be related to chemo". A favourite saying I hear when I complain about something is "you're getting old". I say, yes but it isn't suppose to be aging 20 yrs in 2!! Hope you find a solution...

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2016

I thought I was going out of my mind.  It took me some time to realize heat was the culprit.  I had Stage 3 IDC Breast Cancer.  I underwent 8 rounds of chemo, double mastectomy and full hysterectomy adn 9 weeks of radiation.  I finished radiation in June and out of the clear blue sky one I was outside and realized my skin felt like I was being stung by bees and bitten by fire ants.  As it continued, I realized it was heat - hot showers, hot flashes or the sun, that was causing it.  It drives me totally nuts and there is no relief except the the A/C or standing directly under a fan.  

I spoke to my doctor who sent me to an Allergist and he advised me that it wasn't allergies - that it may in fact be my anemia.  I was always borderline anemic but after the chemo it just went haywire.  I am waiting for test results to confirm.  He said it's either anemia, the cancer has returned or my skin is still working out the chemo.  I'm praying it's just the anemia.  I've had 3 iron infusions and my blood count is still a 12 when the range is 12-18.  

Sorry for the long post, I just couldn't believe I wasn't the only one.  My oncologist looked at me like I was crazy but when I stopped the Anastrozole for 1 month and it was still happening, she realized this was not just a nuisance. If anyone finds out anything else, please post.  I will post when I get my blood test results back. 

Prayers to everyone and try to stay cool.  I live in Florida and I pray everyday for the winter to finally show up. 


Apaugh's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: Aug 2016

I am glad to hear others are doing this.  I am post menopausal.  I itch like crazy and think a bug bite me and look at the spot and nope.  I even had an exterminator come check the house thinking I got bugs.  He said no, your house if fine.  It's the after effects from chemo, no matter waht they say, too many of us have this for it not to be.  I take benadryl and that helps.  Continuing to fight fight fight like a girl.  No one comes out unscathed, but our battle scars prove how brave we are.  Roar ladies! 

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2728
Joined: Jun 2010

Since ths thread jumped to the top again and since I started it in 2011, I just want to say I no longer have the itchies.  In fact, I'd forgotten all about ever having them. Honestly, I can't remember when they went away, but they've been gone for a long long time, probably shortly after this thread started.  I have absolutely no explanation but get it checked out if you have it and it's not normal for you.


Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2016

i too have this issue and it is painful! I finished chemo 3/30/16 and it started happening about a month later. I had four rounds of AC and 12 of Taxol. I asked my ONC and she said she had never heard of it and thought it was probably hormonal. I even told her that I had been googling and found other BC patients that were experiencing the same sensation with our skin when we got hot. I do not have to be directly in the sun at all.  When it happens I feel painful needle like prickly/ electrical shocks almost all over my body. Even on my head. Then in areas where I perspire I get these tiny bumps under the skin. My only relief is to immediately get something cold on me. I can't even take an evening brisk without it flaring up. 

i saw a Dermatologist because I wasn't happy with my ONC answer and she told me it is a form of Prickly Heat rash. She said it is not hormonal. You can get as you age, but more than likely mine was triggered by chemo. Since I have chemo in common with so many other women... I believe it is a lingering side affect. It is caused by nerve damage and not clogged sweat glands. 

I do hope this goes away and soon. It makes exercising so difficult and the Texas heat is brutal for most of the year. But then again, it starts up even walking on a treadmill!! 

Iris_G's picture
Posts: 50
Joined: Aug 2016

I've been dealing with this since April 2016.  It started out as an intense itchy feeling, but went to a pins/needles feeling most of the day.  I went to a dermatologist at the request of my oncologist, just to make sure I haven't developed any allergies.  Well, come to find out I have truncal neuropathy, not from the chemo but from the radiation!  It seems when I had my radiation, it hit my spine and inflamed the nerves from my breast line down to my knees!  My difference is that mine hits me more when there is any temperature change to my body, be it cold to hot or hot to cold.  A neurologist told me to get my Vitamin B levels checked and to have an MRI done on my spine to look for damage.  He's telling me that it could possibly be permanent, but we'll see!

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2016

Curel Anti-Itch shower gel!  Worked wonders on the creepy crawley itch.  It keeps the itch away for hours after use. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2017

I was 57 when diagnosed with IDC Breast Cancer.  Beginning Dec 6, 2016, I started: 4 rounds of A/C (the Red Devil) , followed by 12 weekly rounds of Paclitaxel.  I then had mastectomy of both breasts. (No radiation)   After a hysterectomy eight years earlier, I had been on bioidentical HRT patches, but immediately stopped when I was diagnosed (as the IDC was estrogen positive).  I immediately started having hot flashes, and they were worse during chemo... three an hour, followed by cold, accompanied by an intense itching all over.  (I liken it to temporary poison oak rash.)  Post-chemo, I was prescribed Letrozole (Femara) for the next five years.  It is now ten months after my last chemo and I continue to have the hot flashes (one every 1.5 hours and less intense, so getting better) and to experience the itch (though less severe and generally more annoying on my back).  I have come to a couple of conclusions:  1) I believe the itch is related to the chemo.  I have searched the internet for other women experiencing itch during hot flashes, and only when I added the words "breast cancer" did I find others suffering from this.  2) I think it helps to rub your skin until the dead skin rubs off.   Do this with slightly wet skin during a shower or bath.  The dead skin will start to ball up and you can wash it off.  

I am looking forward to the day when my hot flashes are less than five a day and no accompanying itch!  What a relief that would be. 

God bless us all.

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