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You are receiving a treatment targeted at the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). This treatment has undesirable but temporary effects on the skin, making it fragile.
The changes to your skin usually take place in three stages. Your oncologist will offer you:
Stage 1: Spots appear
Very frequently, acne-like spots erupt in the very first weeks of treatment, most often on the face or trunk, medication for acne; it will be useless, and may even be harmful.
Stage 2: The skin dries out
Your skin dries and may also peel and an eczema-like redness appears.
Stage 3: Body hair and causing discomfort and itching. Do not take any eyelashes change. Your extremities are affected.
Your eyelashes and body hair grow longer. Sometimes a soft down appears on your face. Your fingers and the soles of your feet become chapped and cracked. The skin surrounding your nails is red and painful.
These effects come later and are rarer. They disappear once the treatment is terminated.
This kind of treatment may also provoke hyperkeratosis, which is a thickening of the calluses on your feet. Consultation with a chiropodist can be arranged by your care team either before or during treatment.
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Consultations concerning body image and make-up workshops can be arranged at the HUG.
The sun’s rays include UVA and UVB. The figure appearing on the tube of cream – the SPF or sun protection factor – only indicates the protection provided against UVB. For total sun protection, choose a cream marked ‘broad spectrum’ or indicating UVA + UVB. Quality products at low prices do exist. An SPF of 30 stops 97% of the UVB rays; for total protection go for SPF 50.