No matter what kind of cancer treatment you may be undergoing, skin issues are among the most common side effects patients experience. Different treatments result in different reactions, but whether you’re going through radiation, traditional chemotherapy, targeted chemotherapy treatments, immunotherapy, gene therapy, hormonal therapy, or stem cell transplants, you’re probably going to have some issues with your skin. Everyone’s different, but you may experience burning, itching, dryness, or blistering. It’s deeply not fair, and pretty much the essence of adding insult to injury. You’re already dealing with cancer—now your skin needs to act out, too?

But unlike so much else right now, you do have some control over this one part of life. By knowing how your skin may react—and what you can do about it—you can proactively get yourself into a routine so you can minimize any skin issues that can arise (or even stop some of them before they start).

Take Care of Yourself

Wondering what skincare ingredients to avoid? Not sure of what foods add high nutritional value when little tastes good? The articles in this section may help you as you (or a loved one) navigate changes while undergoing cancer treatment.

The worst skincare ingredients for cancer patients

One of the many unfortunate side effects of most cancer treatments is that your skin often becomes a lot more sensitive than it was before—which means that aside from everything else you have on your plate at the moment, if you’re about to undergo cancer treatments, you need to rethink the skincare products you’ve been using for years.


The best skincare routine for cancer patients

As though undergoing cancer treatment wasn’t already difficult enough, the chances that you’ll encounter some skin irritation are extremely high. In fact, while skin issues vary from treatment to treatment (and even patient to patient), issues like rashes and blisters are among the most common side effects of cancer therapies.


Nutrition advice for cancer patients: 7 top tips

“There’s not one food or food group that is going to help you prevent or fight cancer,” explains Jennifer Smith, Breast Cancer Dietitian at Joy, Energy, Nutrition. “We need a variety of foods and a rainbow of colors working together to give us the maximum benefit for good health.”


6 Gifts for people going through chemo under $50

No matter what type of treatment a patient is undergoing for cancer, it’s hard to anticipate or completely prepare for a host of brand new needs, from nourishing food that’s also palatable to comfy clothing for a host of brand new physical challenges.


I've Been There

Columnist Emily Alford was skincare-obsessed long before she beat breast cancer. Now she answers your questions about all things cancer-related, from skincare concerns to how to handle friends who say all the wrong things. Feel free to reach out with questions about your own cancer journey.


Everyone is trying to be kind to me right now, but friends and coworkers keep asking me “how are you” and I have no idea how to answer that because I feel like garbage. What should I say? —Callie L., Savannah, GA

Oof, I feel you. I got this question all the time when I was going through breast cancer treatments, and it consistently threw me for a loop. It’s really strange how so many “normal” things become weighted with meaning after a cancer diagnosis, isn’t it? Ordering takeout used to be such a simple act, but now it’s… complex. And answering a question that you used to answer unthinkingly—”busy!” “great!” “so good!”—stops being mundane and becomes, well, incredibly fraught in light of your new reality. Callie, you don’t say exactly what you’re concerned about in regards to the question, but from my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, I suspect there might be a couple of different issues at play here.



MedlinePlus is a resource by National Institutes of Health (NIH) for patients and their families and friends.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

NCI is the US federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The American The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is a not-for-profit alliance of 31 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. is a service by the NIH to create a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.

American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) patient information website brings the expertise and resources of ASCO to people living with cancer and those who care for and care about them.

Sarah Cannon

Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, offers integrated cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for those facing cancer in communities across the United States and United Kingdom.

Triage Cancer

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit organization that provides education on the practical and legal issues that may impact individuals diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers, through free events, materials, and resources.

Inspire App

Inspire is an iOS app that fosters the largest and fastest growing support community for cancer, rare diseases, and chronic conditions.

Bright Spot Network

Bright Spot Network is a national nonprofit that supports caregivers who are parenting small children while navigating their own cancer diagnosis.

One Village

OneVillage is the first and only marketplace for the cancer community to find a curated, medically-approved selection of everything they need before, during, and after treatment, as well as personalized recommendations for content and tools that fit into a step-by-step guide for navigating care.