The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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More Tips for Managing Tarceva Skin Toxicity

This advice is based on personal experience and should be used in conjunction with advice from your G.P., Oncologist or Nurse Specialist. If any adverse effects are experienced with any of the products suggested in the following notes, you should stop using them immediately and seek professional advice.

Prior to starting treatment with Tarceva it is likely to help to intensively moisturise your skin & to establish a twice daily routine of cleansing & moisturising.

It is also important to remember that proper hydration is important when tackling dry skin conditions so drinking approximately 2 litres of water a day is likely to be helpful.

Diet is also important as our skin will reflect any deficiencies; a balanced diet is all that is required with a good variety of lean meat, oily fish, vegetables, fruit (not grapefruit) and cereals. It is not clear if vitamin or mineral supplements are helpful, and some may interfere with medication so check with your oncologist, specialist nurse or G.P. before your spend any money on these, although you should get all you need from a balanced diet.

Creams & Lotions

E45 Intensive Recovery Lotion

E45 Itch Relief Cream

Aveeno Bath Oil

Aveeno Cream

Aqueous Cream

Double Base Gel (prescription)

Sudocrem (for toenails- paronychia)

Lanacane Anti Chafing gel

Heal Gel

Sanctuary Body Butter

Clindomycin Lotion (prescription)

!% Hydrocortisone cream (prescription)

2.5% Hydrocortisone cream (prescription)

Magic Nail nail strengthener to improve brittle splitting nails

I found the following regime helpful in managing my skin problems:

AM: Shower with Aqueous cream, this cleanses and moisturises the skin prior to applying prescribed creams and lotions. Pat the skin dry. Apply prescribed creams/lotions as directed. If applying more than one layer of cream/lotion, allow 10-15 minutes between applications to allow for absorption. Apply a generous layer of moisturiser. Re-apply as directed or as necessary particularly to problem areas throughout the day.

Try Lanacne anti chafing gel to areas where clothes or skin surfaces may rub, especially if going out for the day/evening.

PM: Prior to retiring, shower with aqueous cream or soak in a warm bath containing 20mls of Aveeno oil using aqueous cream at the end to remove residue of creams applied earlier in the day.

Repeat application of prescribed creams/lotions as directed, moisturising last thing before retiring. Apply a thicker cream e.g. Aveeno to problem areas such as knees, elbows etc. Apply sudocrem to toe nails to sooth soreness from paronychia, ( I found it improved this condition, although didn’t cure it.)

General Comfort

I have found the following contributed to general comfort:


For women:

Marks & Spencer Limited Edition secret Support Modal Rich Floral Vest, ( gives gentle support when you can’t wear a bra.)

M&S Post surgery ultra comfort non-wired bra, ( has wide straps & inner lining so no seams to rub sore skin, 20% vat reduction also)

Fleecy Pyjama bottoms & cotton tee shirts are comfortable to sleep in, if your elbows are sore a long sleeved top may be more appropriate than short sleeves.

For everyone

Clothes with high cotton/natural fibre content tend to be more comfortable than most man made fibres.

Bed linen

Cotton jersey fitted sheets provide a soft surface to sleep on.

A memory foam mattress or mattress topper will help relieve pressure while sleeping.

At all times be aware of the condition of your skin use a mirror to check on areas you are not normally able to see, this allows you to address issues early before they become problems. Contact your G.P if you are concerned about any area of your skin while taking Tarceva, you may need a short course of treatment with other medication.

Your Nurse specialist should also be able to advise you regarding general skin maintenance.

I hope you find this advice helpful, I cannot guarantee that it will work for you, but it has for me. I compiled the information through trial & error and out of necessity while undergoing treatment with Tarceva.

I know that I would have appreciated having this information prior to starting treatment and hope to encourage others to contribute tips they may have found helpful too.

1 Reply

Great advice HP, hope this encourages others to blog their cancer tips.


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