Prevalence of dermatological complaints in patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer

An Bras Dermatol. 2018 Jun;93(3):362-367. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20186541.


Background: Internal malignancies such as breast cancer, as well as their treatment can often result in skin changes.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of dermatological complaints in patients who are undergoing oncological treatment for breast cancer in a hospital in Tubarão, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Methods: Observational, cross-sectional study, from October 2015 to February 2016 in which 152 patients with the diagnosis of breast cancer, undergoing treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and/or surgery, were interviewed and completed a research protocol developed by the author.

Results: The treatment of breast cancer was associated with dermatological complaints in 94.1% of the interviewed, being with hair loss the most frequent, present in 79.6% of the sample, followed by nail changes (56%). Patients with lighter skin phototypes (I, II and III) had a lower risk (p=0.045) of developing skin changes when compared to darker phototypes. Radiation therapy (p=0.011) and oncological surgery (pFisher=0.004) were statistically significant when related to skin changes.

Study limitations: Inherent to the design of the study, as well as recall bias.

Conclusions: It was found that most patients diagnosed with breast cancer showed dermatologic manifestations during the proposed cancer treatment. Patients undergoing radiotherapy and surgery showed skin changes with greater statistical significance.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hormones