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Heat and itchy skin

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2805
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.

Suzanne

Chickadee1955's picture
Chickadee1955
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!

Chickadee

Mitzi333's picture
Mitzi333
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
Apaugh
Posts: 553
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.  

taberfan
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
poplolly
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: 2805
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.

Suzanne

emamei's picture
emamei
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
phoenixrising
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...
hugs
jan

tashawng
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. 

Tay

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
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: 2805
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.

Suzanne

Lolaep1
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
Iris_G
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!

Maximom
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. 

MNMNMN08
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.

Snowblind
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2017

Hi all! I finished chemo end of 2014 for TNBC followed by dbl mastectomy, radiation, hysterectomy due to BRCA1+. When I sweat, sit in a too warm tub or too warm shower, hot flash, or anything that makes me warm or sweat, I have the sensation of a thousand needles all over my body then it itches painfully without a rash. I too have asked my oncologist about this. I still see him every three-four months. He denies it has anything to do with chemo. My Gp agrees that is absolutely has something to do with chemo. I wonder if it relates to the drugs used in particular? I had eight rounds of cyctoxin/adriamycn with herceptin. Anyone having these side effects also have these chemo drugs?

All the best,

Gina

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
Joined: Aug 2016

I dont know why the ono's act like they dont think it is the meds.  It says it right in the pamphlets.   I had all the same meds as you adn I am finishing up the herceptin in July and I have those itches all the time.  I use a mixture of a lotion over my whole body, vasoline, vit. E , and baby lotion mixed.  I slather that on before I go to bed.  keeps my skin soft.  It helps.  Taking benadryl helps some but watch out for leg cramps getting worse.  The Herceptin does that too along with the wonderful bone pain.   I try to stay away from pain killers but in the first week after the infusion, I got to take them and then I go down to Aleve or Tylenol.   The itch comes and goes and I wonder if it is not caused by the stress our bodies have endured, the toxic chemicals coming out our pours.  I dont know.  My GP wondered it becuase of the stress is it a form of shingles trying to appear.  I dont think so.  Not all over your body.  But she tried to be helpful.  Lukewarm baths.  Hot baths for the muscle pain.  Walking like I am 80 sometimes.   Looking it too.  The anti-hormone has alot of the same side effects.  I am not a happy camper and dont know if I can take 5 more years of it.  Feeling very depressed and frustrated by it all.

Rague
Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

My suggestion would be to see a Dermatoloogist.  They are the Specialist who deal with skin issues.

I did 4 DD A/C (Adriacycin/ Cytoxan) neoadjuvant  and 12 weekly Taxol adjuvant.  Had no issues like you are, but we are each so unique. 

It is also possible that there is a new issue that has developed and not at all associated with any previous TX.

Do find out and get approprIate TX. 

Winyan - The Power Within 

Chamisa
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2015

...or there wouldn't be these posts about it!  I get the itchy prickles everytime I have a hot flash.  They are an annoyance, and itchy(!), but they only last as long as the hot flash.  I was curious if they happened to anyone else which is why I searched and found this thread.  At first the prickly-itchies were somewhat alarming but then I noticed a correlation between them and my hot flashes.  I haven't even bothered mentioning the phenomenon to my docs, since I know they are related to my treatment.  I am currently on anastrozole which is why I have the hot flashes (a known SE of aromatase inhibitors).  I had IDC and did the entire poison-slash-burn protocol (ACT chemo, bilateral mastectomy, and rads).  I got so tired of all the onc nurses and docs acting like it was the first time they'd ever heard about whatever SE I was having during chemo that I quit asking about stuff unless it was bad and I needed some sort of relief.  I found I got more answers by reading these boards!  :)    I started taking anastrozole in September and it's now March, so it'll be interesting to see if the prickles happen this summer when I'm "hot" independent of the hot flashes.

 

KerryB
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2017

Hi,  I came across this thread while Googling "pricking skin when hot following chemo". I thought I would let you know that my diagnosis was Follicular B Cell Lymphoma so my chemo drugs were totally different to those used for breast cancer treatment and I suffer the same dreadful prickling when I get hot. I understand patients not discussing these types of symptoms with their oncologist's and nurses as you can feel that the issue is not important enough or previous symptoms have been ignored or waved away as not a side-effect of chemo.  I have felt this way.  However, maybe this is part of the reason why the doctor may not have heard the complaints often enough to immediately accept it as a genuine side effect of chemo. Anyway, I am pleased to hear that I can expect this symptom to go away. All the best for ongoing good health everyone. 

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

hope you are right that these symptoms will go away .. I messaged my oncologist again today to see if there is any creme that might help. 

Good luck

Magicmom
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2012

Found this thread and, as everyone else, happy to see it is not just me.  Had chemo for ovarian cancer in 2012 and developed this about 6 months after completing. It waxes and wanes but is particularly difficult in the summer.  Overheating and direct sunlight seem to be my triggers.  Will try some of the suggestions offered here.  Thanks! 

Ollieveer
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

Right -- can't be the chemo.  How is it that it never happened before the chemo and  conitunes now 9 years later.  I have learned how to be as cool as possible and can go a pretty long time before it hits, but I still have it.  It is as if all of my nerve endings got fried during chemo.  My entire body has to cool down before it goes away. It happens to my arms first - so I know to immediatly find a cooler place.. Applying cold water doesn't do it.  Chemo does a lot of damage - seriously.  Funny how many of us who had chemo have this issue.  

gelainest
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

Just wanted to chime in that I have the same thing and I'm trying to figure out how to treat it. I can't be outside pretty much...

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

me either I have been inside all summer!!!! Outside not even 10 minutes and have to run inside to be in air conditironing.... dread winter when heat is on!!

terral
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

I have been bothered with this problem too.  My symptoms also started after by full cocktail of chemo drugs. I am now finishing up my herceptin ( one more to go, yahoo) infusion and  am wondering if I will have this condition for a while longer.  I too didnt mention it to anyone. On my next visit to the Ocon Doctor I will bring it up and mention that several others suffer from the same thing..

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
Joined: Aug 2016

Congratulations on finishing up the treatments.  I just got done myself!  It is a great feeling to know your done.   I have no doubt that there is a connection to the chemo and the itching.  I have made the decision to just be kind to myself and deal with it the best I can. 

Please let us know what your docs response is.

Hugs,

Annie

Christiena
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

During Taxol, my soles and palms would itch so intensely that I would literally cry. I had to carry ice packs to numb my feet and hands throughout the day. Just thinking about how intense and insatiable this itch was makes me want to cry right now. But I have been off of chemo for a year, had my ovaries removed due to ER 100% BC and started Anastozole immediately afterward (I have stopped taking for the past 3 weeks as an experiment but am still having these itching attacks with my hot flashes). Ever since I had my ovaries removed and started the Anastozole, I get intense, insatiable, itching whenever I work out whether low, moderate, or high intensity workouts it still causes hot flashes and this insane itch. I believe it is due to nerve damage from Taxol. I saw something called Neuropathic Itch on NIH's website.

I have been explaining this to my ONCs since February and they keep referring to it as a "skin" thing and dry skin is a side effect of Anastozole. I promise this itch in NOT on the surface or any layers of my skin it is a subcutaneous itch!! It feels like my veins are itching all over my body. I try to ignore it and not complain, because after all, I got the "all clear" from my ONC team and there are no lesions or lumps in my mammograms and my blood test are great. I just need to know if this is a permanent part of BC recovery or if its menopausal or is it nerve damage that will  be corrected as time goes on and I just need to wait it out a bit.

It so hard when you feel that people think you are insane because they are suggesting that you change lotions, soaps, and detergents or take an allergy pill or use a topical antihistamine and you will be okay. I wish they could understand that it is not that kind of itch and it is miserable. I have to literally stop what I am doing and keep perfectly still as to cool myself down enough to lessen the intense itch. If the doctors and researcher do not acknowledge this long term side effect, how can we get relief! The hot flashes are one thing, the itch is another all together. Frown Good know that I am not insane afterall and others are experiencing this problem, I just wish we get a solution! 

 

"Warm" regards, literally, 

Christiena

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
Joined: Aug 2016

I have been done with the A/C chemo a long time and done with the Herceptin for a month now.  I think all this lead to neuropothy in the worst way.   My feet drive me bats. 

I have lymphedemia in my arms.  I have diabeties, and had neuropothy on left side prior to BC diagnosis.   The chemo made it worse.  Just intensified it to the max. 

I had a hysterecomy back in 2010 and went through the hot flashes.  2016, the breast cancer,  hormone pos.  They put me on the Als back in Oct.  2016 and those first 4 mo. were awful with continuous hot flashes.  They have now tapered off quite a bit.  But I have all the other SE of it.  bone pain, itching.  

I dont know what is what.  All I know is this is a crap shoot and many people have not a clue how hard this is on our bodies.   I hope they never have to.  

HUGS<

Keep fighting the fight.

Annie

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

i have ended chemo on May 23. I have been dealing with itchy creepy skin when I get warm and it stops when I cool down. I see many others here have the same issue .... this is the second time I have had cancer and did not go through this last time 

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

any of you that are experiencing the itchy skin did you have taxol?  I did just wondering if that is the common denominator. This is crazy . There has got to be an answer to what it is. And a cure

good luck all

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
Joined: Aug 2016

I did not have taxol.   I have the itchy skin.

 

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

how long have you had the itchy skin? Is it getting less? 

3Mimi
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2017

has anyone tried any lotions or creams to help? If so what did you use and did it help? The side effects of the chemo is crazy. Not to mention the chemo itself. I have been done for 4 months and now dealing with the creepy skin , hair still really short but is coming back , still some neuropathy in fingers and toes . Was on Gabapentin for that but stopped that 2 weeks ago thinking that is what caused the itchy skin, but still have it.  It has been a rough year and want to get back to normal... if that's possible!!!  

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 553
Joined: Aug 2016

Without looking it up (SE chemo brain)  I think my high dose was over Sept of 2016 and then I went to Herceptin treatments until July 2017.  My itchy skin started sometime during the high dose and it has not stopped.  I dont think there is particular lotion for the cure, it is just keeping your skin soft that helps.  Staying hydrated and not getting too warm.  Trying to keep your stress levels down  (LOL)  and most of all praying for better outcomes. 

Hugs

Annie

SweetRain52
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2017

I too have experienced itchy skin, but it turned into a rash.  It has been awful.  The dermatologist gave me some cream and it finally started to go away, but 5 days ago, came back with a vengence.  It is so very frustrating.  The back of my legs itch so bad.  When I first got it and scratched so bad, my husband said I looked like I had been in an automobile accident as there was so much brusing.  It just feels so unfair after going through surgery, chemo, and radiation for breast cancer then to have this happen.  If anyone has any ideas on how to treat, please post them.  Thank you and good luck to us all!

 

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