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Toenails and Taxol...these are a few of my favorite things

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Today was my 9th infusion of Taxol maintenance. Prior to that, I had six months of Taxol and Carbo, so I have been on Taxol (same dose) for a long time (14 months).

I have been fortunate to tolerate it so well. Very little neuropathy, which is normally the big bug-a-boo.

I have recently noticed that two of my toenails are turning purple, at the base. I know that Taxol can damage nails, and even cause them to fall off. Is this a permanent condition, or will they return to normal, once I'm off the Taxol (end of January)? Has anyone else experienced a similar reaction?

Posts: 208
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Hissy,
While on taxol, I lost my big toenails. It was a little distressing, as I live in a warm weather climate where sandals are the norm. They did come back afterwards and now look the same. I don't remember losing all my nails. I think I tried to paint the missing skin to match! LOL I even bought fake toenails, but didn't glue them on..

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I had the 6 carbo/taxols, plus 17 nore dense dose taxols and also had the blackening of both of my big toe toenails at the base & up about 1/2 way. For me it started much earlier in my treatment, so you made it pretty far into the treatments to be getting this now. Bummer. (I must say that my oncologist never said it was from the taxol; he just said "I don't do feet" when I mentioned the toenail darkening.) I never lost my nails but they did loosen almost completely on the sides of the nail for awhile there and then somehow reattached themselves somewhat. My toenails have now grow in about 1/2 way and the base is now all pink & healthy and the ugly blackened thick ridged part of the toenail is just the top 1/4". So it does grow itself out, but toenails grow SLOW. I look forward to it growing out to the point where I can cut off the last of the ugly part. Meanshile I wear dark toe polish.

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Linda....I did the initial 6 doses of carbo/taxol, then went right into full-strength taxol, every 4 weeks for the last 9 months. I have had a LOT of chemo with no break in between. My doctor always asks, "How's your fingers and toes?" He is checking for neuropathy, though and seemed to think the toenail issue was no big deal. Easy for him to say!


kellyh33's picture
Posts: 288
Joined: Jul 2010

I read your profile with a lot of interest.
My Mom will be starting taxol this week. She is terrified and has been since her diagnosis with stage 3C in June of this year. It sounds like you are a very positive person and I admire that. Do you have any suggestions to lift my Mom's spirits? A cancer diagosis has been her life long fear since her only sibling lost his cancer battle at the age of 16 when Mom was 12.
Mom has had 6 carbo/taxol treatments already but her oncologist feels she may benefit from doing weekly taxol. Mom's debulking surgery was unsuccessful due to the location of her tumor. Her tumor has not shrunk nor has it grown since her diagnosis, she had her last CT scan November 22nd.
I feel like I am grasping at anything right now. I just want Mom to find some peace and not to be so scared.
Thank you,

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

My mother's toes went very strange after first-line chemo, and her fingernails were cracked and split, too. Her podiatrist recommended a nutritional supplement called biotin that she says is why her nails are now hard as can be.

Posts: 318
Joined: Sep 2009

My toenails turned purple, I used the tea tree oil and I think that helped them from turning brittle and breaking. Once chemo was over they started to grow out: they looked ugly, pink and healthy on the bottom and discolored black/purple on the top. Like Linda I kept them painted a dark color. My toes started to hurt when wearing shoes after a few months so I had to clip the dead part down to the healthy, (about half way). Now 11 months after last treatment they are grown out and look normal. They grow very slow.
I still have neuropathy in my toes and doubt it is going to get better. It doesn't bother me except if barefoot as it feels weird.

Mawty's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Sep 2009

I lost one toenail, but came close to losing three more. I've had a break in the taxol and haven't had chemo for 12 weeks. But my CA-125 keeps going up so it won't be long before I'm back on. But I was on chemo for 1 year and 9 months and only lost one toenail and it's growing back nicely.

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LPack's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Oct 2008

Funny you should ask!

I lost both big toenails on taxol/carbo! And now both are turning purple on this doxil dose (remember it is a higher dose than normal b/c of clinical trial). I mentioned it at The James Research and they seemed surprised that it has occured! ☺

My nails never did anything weird before I ever had chemo, so I am assuming that it is the chemo again that is causing my toenails to change. I am going to make an appointment with my regular family doctor soon for yearly checkup and will mention to him. He will probably send me to a foot doctor!

Oh yes, obviously they did grow back! LOL! Hope they do if I lose them this time, but this time they look weird too. Maybe part of the hand foot syndrom - who knows? I always was a little different!

Libby ☺

Margot Greer's picture
Margot Greer
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

I did twelve weeks of taxol and i'm now on Cytoxin and Adriomyacin. For me it's not only my toenails but also my fingernails. I also cover the darkness up with darker nail polish.

I am experiencing a few other weird side effects though. my toenails and fingernails are both really sensitive mostly a few days after treatments but they actually hurt really bad when I try to do things like open a soda can or button my coat! I guess I should stop doing those things before they actually do fall off lol.
Also the bottom of my feet and the palms of my hands have gotten darker and spotty. has anyone else experienced this?? At first i thought my feet were dirty but they're not! does anyone know if this is permanant?

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