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Xeloda and Fingerprints

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Ok, this was on the News just now and it really fascinated me, considering I live 40 minutes from the US border, so traveling back and forth between Canada/US is not at all unusual.

They just had a report on the News that a cancer patient was held up at the border because he didn't have any fingerprints! The reason, they found out, was he was on Xeloda for his cancer, and it is not unusual that Xeloda can destroy a person's fingerprints. We already know that it can cause hand/foot syndrome, but I had no idea it could erase your fingerprints.

Not that they take your fingerprints at the border every time you cross, but this News report said IF you take Xeloda, or have, and you are traveling to another country, make sure you take an official letter/note from your oncologist.

Who was to know??


Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

That is really strange I have never heard of that before.....I don't know its always something.....So does that mean we can rob a bank and not get caught by our fingerprints??? lol lol JULIE

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menright's picture
Posts: 258
Joined: Oct 2008

I just read a story about this in USA Today (May 27th edition).

The story centered around someone on Xeloda for 3-years so I believe it takes a strong dose to have this effect.

I too thought the discussion was interesting. I took Xeloda for 3-months and I believe I still have fingerprints. Let's hope I never have to find out. I cannot think of many good reasons to be fingerprinted.


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

prints. I was surprised in a way when I read that. I'm still waiting for my pump to set something off. It's not like I can take it out of me.

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Wow, how weird, but good to know to be prepared. I'm on Xeloda and I was curious to see if I still have fingerprints or not. I couldn't find an ink pad, so I ran a blue marker over my fingertip, then pressed my finger onto paper. I definitely do still have a fingerprint! Maybe it is a higher dose that does it, as was mentioned by someone else.

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi all -

This is all very interesting. I am a nerd (will admit that), so I can't help wondering exactly to what extent this person's fingerprints couldn't be taken.

Thirty years ago I had to apply for a security clearance and get fingerprinted as part of the process. My husband and I were remodeling an old house, doing most work ourselves - I had been handling sheetrock mud, sanding, using oil based paint and paint thinner etc. I went to get my fingerprints done and they couldn't get a quality set. (Not that they couldn't get fingerprints, but just that they were blurred enough that they weren't acceptable from a security perspective.) I had another 6 months before I was in trouble without prints and we were just about done with the house, so I stopped that work and used lots of hand cream and had no problem 6 months later, nor any of the several times since that I had to redo my clearance.

I am guessing that the Xeloda fingerprint thing is related to hand foot syndrome and is sort of like my ancient remodeling experience. Abrasion on the fingertips erodes enough of the fingerprint that it is not considered valid and unique, even though you probably still have a fingerprint.

Just thought I would share,

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Here's an article about it:

Xeloda and lost fingerprints

That's true about losing fingerprints during renovations if using sandpaper and harsh products, so you were really close with that one. And it appears you do have to be on Xeloda for a long time and it won't happen for everyone... but it is not one of the side affects you are warned about when taking this med... especially for those of us who live close to the border so may cross it often. I am going to have to mention this to my onc, not that I think she'll be putting me on Xeloda again.


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