What can be done about sores on my head from chemotherapy?

Kate asked...

I have just had my 4th chemo (C H O P) for non-hodgkins lymphoma, and this week I have sores on the back of my head.  I took my wig off 48 hours ago.  Can anything be done?

Expert Answer

Harvey Gilbert, MD, is a radiation oncologist with more than 35 years of professional experience in the medical field, working with cancer patients. He has edited 14 medical textbooks and coauthored 40 papers in the field of oncology. Dr. Gilbert is the medical director of the Ben Schaffer Cancer Institute in Lodi, California.

CHOP chemotherapy is a combination of standard chemo drugs and a targeted drug called Rituxan. The standard drugs do not tend to cause skin reactions, but the Rituxan is more likely to do so. The following are some of the skin effects of this drug are:

"¢Possible itching peeling and blistering of skin on the hands and feet

"¢Folliculitis of the scalp. (Inflammation of the hair follicules)

I would believe that the folliculitis of the scalp and the itching and peeling and blistering of the skin are the most likely to approximate what you are experiencing. If the lesions are draining we use Domeboro's soaks. If they are dry and just irritated we use Aloe vera lotion plus either cortisone and/or benadryl cream for itching. If they are not bothering you, we use aloe vera cream as a healing agent. If they are infected, you might want to use either an oral or a topical antibiotic.