Coping with Peripheral Neuropathy
It's funny how conversations cluster. This week, in three different groups and with at least five individual women, the topic of peripheral neurapathy arose. This can be a major problem associated with certain chemotherapy drugs (such as the Taxanes). There are not good cures, although Vit B6 may help, and time usually helps. Anyhow, this is a good summary from CancerNet about managing this side effect. Here is the beginning and then a link:
Managing Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that occurs when nerves in your body's peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord) are damaged. Peripheral nerves carry information back and forth between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body. Depending on which nerves are affected, a patient can develop symptoms related to a change in sensation (numbness, tingling, or pain), muscle function (weakness; also called myopathy), and organ function (constipation or dizziness).
Peripheral neuropathy can occur in relation to diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, or thyroid disorder; nutritional deficiencies, such as a deficiency in vitamin B12; or inherited conditions, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Cancer treatment may also cause this disorder or make it worse.
Cancer-related risk factors
Peripheral neuropathy is a relatively common side effect. Although anyone diagnosed with cancer is at risk for this condition, these factors can increase the risk:
Type of cancer. Cancers that most often result in peripheral neuropathy, either from the disease or from its treatment, include lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and Hodgkin lymphoma.
Tumor location. A tumor pressing on a peripheral nerve or one that grows into a nerve may result in nerve damage.
Chemotherapy. Certain types of chemotherapy, particularly in high doses, can injure peripheral nerves. These drugs include the following:
- Bortezomib (Velcade)
- Platinums, including cisplatin (Platinol), oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), and carboplatin (Paraplatin)
- Taxanes, including docetaxel (Taxotere) and paclitaxel (Taxol)