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Capecitabine - Cancer drug makes fingerprints disappear

Guest Norse

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Guest Norse

A 62 year old man was detained while trying to enter the United States because immigration officials could not detect his fingerprints, which had deteriorated as a side effect of cancer treatment.


The man, Mr. S, was being treated for throat cancer with the drug capecitabine. Side effects include hand-foot syndrome, which can cause redness, swelling and cracked, flaking or peeling skin on the soles of the feet and palms of the hand.


Mr. S’s throat cancer was in remission, but he had been taking capecitabine for three years to prevent the cancer from returning. He developed a mild case of hand-foot syndrome, not severe enough to “affect his daily activities and function.”


When travelling from Asia to visit family in the United States, immigration officials detained Mr. S for more than four hours because they could not detect his fingerprints.


According to the report, international airports in the United States “have been fingerprinting foreign visitors for many years. Each visa applicant has two index fingerprint images taken from and they are matched with millions of visa holders to detect whether the new visa applicant has a visa under a different name. These fingerprints are also matched to a list of suspected criminals.”


Mr. S - who was not aware of his missing fingerprints before travelling to the United States - was ultimately released and advised to travel with a letter from his oncologist explaining his condition in the future.





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