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Hand-foot syndrome is a side effect that may occur with specific types of chemotherapy treatments. It's a skin reaction that occurs on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
Mild symptoms may include:
Severe symptoms include:
Certain types of chemotherapy are more likely to cause hand-foot syndrome. The cause stems from exposure of the chemotherapy medication which leaks into the cells from the small blood vessels called capillaries.
This causes damage to the skin cells in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Heat, friction and pressure from daily activities on your hands and feet can contribute to the formation of the skin reaction.
There are prevention strategies you can use to reduce the chance of developing hand-foot syndrome. You may want to use them during the first six weeks of treatment. They include:
If you notice your hands and feet are getting red and tender, notify your provider. Many times your chemotherapy dosage can be held or reduced to prevent additional or severe symptoms. Your provider may also suggest mild pain relievers and other strategies to manage your symptoms.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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