How do you treat a chemo burn?

Lilsis asked...

My brother suffered a chemical burn under the skin at the injection site, when chemo escaped under the skin during treatment. What is the best way to treat this wound?

Expert Answer

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

This is a very rare situation that happens when a chemotherapy drug infiltrates tissue around the vein, usually during intravenous administration. It can happen if  the IV needle is not properly placed in the vein or comes loose.

Your brother needs to speak with his oncologist or medical staff and let them know this happened. Check the burn site for redness, swelling, and pain, and report all symptoms to the doctor. Some tissue burns cause only minor discomfort and heal on their own, but it's possible for a severe burn and ulceration to develop.

Also, before your brother's next chemotherapy appt., he may wish to talk to his doctor about other ways of receiving his chemotherapy drugs. If the chemotherapy nurses are having trouble finding veins for IV treatment, there are other options such as a CVC (central venous catheter) or a port that is surgically implanted.