I Didn’t Expect THAT: No Body Odor

Okay, this one was just weird. File this under “not all cancer treatment side effects are bad.”

How shall I put this? After I finished chemo, I noticed that I didn’t smell. At all. No armpit odor, no sweaty crotch odor, nothing. I asked my husband to check; he concurred.

“You smell like…skin,” was the best description he could muster. Once again, I took to the Internet, that repository of information about anything and everything. Except that I found nothing.

Eventually, I came across a forum where women were discussing bad smells associated with their tumors. Again, not what I was looking for. But nestled within all those posts was a single comment by someone that she had lost all her body odor for about two and a half years. Finally! Someone else experiencing the same cool weirdness.

Deodorant
I don’t even need deodorant, but why not smell fruity?

So this probably won’t last forever, but for now, I can get away with all-natural deodorants and not worry that they won’t have staying power. To be clear, I sweat, I just don’t smell like it. My teenage daughter is jealous. My teenage son, of course, couldn’t care less, although I really wish he would. The smell of testosterone is strong with that one.

Regardless, this is one side effect that I’m going to enjoy as long as I can.

Author: franticshanti

Why so serious?

24 thoughts on “I Didn’t Expect THAT: No Body Odor”

  1. I’m saving on deodorant. Have been on chemo drugs for prostate cancer. One of the drugs lowers my testosterone. Lost most my hair everywhere except my head. Only shave twice a week at best. Wonder what gives!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! It’s weird, isn’t it? Chemo definitely does something to your body odor but I haven’t been able to find a good explanation of why that happens. And while hair loss would be expected with chemo, interesting that you still have hair on your head. Hormones control a lot of processes and it’s interesting what happens when they’re suppressed. Wishing you the best with your treatment!

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  2. I finished chemotherapy at the end of April this year and have not had any body odor since… I used to have quite a bit! I am a big hot yoga fan and I am definitely sweating as usual but no body odor! So strange and I haven’t found much about it other than your post. Glad to find it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for writing! It’s so interesting to hear others’ experiences about this. I’m sure we’re not the only ones so I wonder why no one talks about this more? Thanks again for your comment! 💕

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  3. I came to the internet to research this very thing, as I too have noticed that I have zero body odor after chemo!! I only found your post too 😊. I concur, it’s a super cool side effect, when we think of everything else we have to deal with! Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome! It’s so interesting that many of us are having the same experience, but when I asked my medical oncologist about it, he said he hasn’t had anyone else tell him this. My radiation had, however. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! ❤️

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  4. Hey, I was just googling the same thing and found your post. I’ve found absolutely nothing else on the subject though. I finished chemo almost 9 months ago and haven’t worn deodorant since. So weird. I’m so curious as to why?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for posting, Jenn! It was such an unexpected effect – I mentioned it to my oncologist at my last meeting and he wasn’t convinced it was tied to the chemo. But I don’t see how it couldn’t be‽ I’m guessing not enough people have been telling their medical team? Thanks again for writing!

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    1. Hi, Jennifer, I appreciate your comment! March 2022 will be five years from my diagnosis (chemo took place over the spring and summer) and while there’s some body odor, it is not very pronounced. My irradiated armpit still has very little odor. I can easily get away with using natural deodorants, and that’s even with sweaty workouts. I think it took about a year and a half or maybe two years to notice any return of odor? I also don’t know what effect the endocrine therapy had but the odor loss definitely followed my chemo. It’s just such an odd and unexpected (and not horrible!) side effect!

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      1. Hi, I commented earlier this year … I stopped chemotherapy at the end of April 2021, so it’s been about 8 months for me and no odor whatsoever ! I had TCHP chemotherapy. My oncologist was also unfamiliar with this side pleasant effect 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Teri! Thanks for commenting again! Isn’t it weird how so many oncologists are unaware? Mine has been practicing for decades and it was news to him. My chemo was TCH…curious whether it’s something in one of those or whether it’s chemo in general?

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  5. I had R-chop which ended in June of 21….I found your blog last fall and was so happy I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. I usually had to re-apply deodorant during the day so it was definitely nice to have one less thing to think about. However, I started feeling like a pod person because of it – I literally miss my stinkiness. Just kind of a reminder of what my body has had to go through, even though it’s not something unpleasant, not smelling is just super weird. I also wasn’t sure if it was tied to medical menopause? They don’t really have a plethora of info on that either =/ Anyways it’s now April of 22 and I can spell a very faint smell again after a couple days and I made my husband check (lol) and he agreed I was stinky. Haha! Sorry, it’s the little things that make us happy, right? Thanks so much for your blog and sharing about your journey. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jude, thanks so much for commenting! It’s so interesting that so many of us are having the same experience, yet my doctor kind of shrugs and says he’s never heard of chemo doing that to his patients. It’s definitely another way that cancer treatment turns everything that’s familiar to us on its head. Such a strange side effect! I really appreciate you reading the blog! Have a wonderful weekend! 💕

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  6. So I found your articles after a few months wondering why my BO had disappeared after chemo.

    As you say it a good side effect, but I’d love to understand why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robyn! Thanks so much for the comment. I’m actually looking into contacting researchers who study the human microbiome. I’ll definitely post if I get a response! I agree, I would like to know what causes this, especially since oncologists seem to be unaware that this is even happening!

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  7. It’s funny but after my mastectomy, my body odour was terrible. After chemo, the body odour is gone. My husbands agrees. I used to use deodorant body washes but now I can get away with non scented products. A very weird but welcome side effect of chemo. At least I assume it’s a side effect. I was on taxotere, cyclophosphamide and currently on Herceptin. This is the one chemo side effect I’m happy with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kris! That’s so interesting – I’m still thinking it has something to do with the chemo messing with our skin microbiome, because that would make sense. It would be really interesting to take a poll of breast cancer patients & survivors to see how many of us have had the same experience. I expect that it would be a lot! Thanks again and have a lovely weekend! 💕

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    1. Hi Jane – thanks so much for your comment! This is so interesting – a number of us have had the same experience! There has to be something going on…
      Thanks again! ❤️

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