Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on


Hair, Skin, and Nail Problems

Cancer and cancer treatment can cause skin changes such as dryness, itchiness, and rash, as well as hair loss and nail changes. Learn what to look for and how to manage hair, skin and nail problems. 

Hair Loss

Some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, make people lose some or all of their hair. Learn what you can do to help avoid or manage hair loss.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can be rough, flaky, red, and sometimes painful. It’s often caused by not having enough oil and water in the layers of the skin. Common causes of dry skin include dehydration, heat, cold, poor nutrition, and side effects of treatment.

Itchy Skin

Itching can keep you awake and cause restlessness, anxiety, skin sores, and infection. Common causes of itching in people with cancer include dry skin, allergies, side effects of medicines, and cancer treatment. Other illnesses and certain kinds of cancer can also cause itching.

Skin Rash

A skin rash is a common side effect of certain types of cancer treatments.  Rashes usually develop within a few weeks of receiving the treatment, but can develop at any time during your cancer treatment. 

Changes in Skin Color

Changes in the skin can be due to tumor growth, sun exposure, or the side effects of treatment. A person may look yellow because of liver problems, blue because of breathing problems, bruised because of blood disorders, or red because of skin problems. 

Pressure Sores

A skin or pressure sore develops when the blood supply to an area of the body is stopped and the skin in that area dies, often leaving an open crater or ulcer in the skin. A person who is bedridden or always in a wheelchair puts pressure on the same places much of the time. 

Scars and Wounds

A wound is a physical injury to the body that disrupts its structure.  Proper care for a wound is important to protect it from infection and help it heal. Scars are healed wounds.

Nail Changes

Certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can cause changes to the nails. Learn more about the types of nail changes and what can be done to manage them.

Hot Flashes and Sweating

Sweating, night sweats, and hot flashes can be side effects of cancer and its treatment.  It's important to know why they might happen and what can help to relieve them.