Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Post-Cancer Shock Of Neuropathy

Today's post from (see link below) is a bit of a 'duh' post for all experienced neuropathy patients who have pretty much got used to the fact that they are stuck with the disease for years to come but is nevertheless a huge shock for cancer patients who feel as though they've already had the rough end of the stick and surviving that may leave them with a painful and permanent nerve damage condition. Unfortunately it's a feature of many modern treatments for many diseases, that the treatment which cures the one disease, can bring unwanted and pretty much unrelated side effects with it. Unfortunately, this is the current reality but this blog's advice to cancer patients who go on to suffer from neuropathy, is to do your research on all neuropathy irrespective of the cause. So if your neuropathy comes from diabetes, or HIV, or chemotherapy, all information about learning to deal with it will be of some use to you. The causes are very different but the end results are pretty much the same. It's a knock-on effect - the more cases of cancer that are discovered by modern science, will lead to more cases of nerve damage as a result of the treatment unless they can somehow modify the chemo drugs that cause it. And despite what this article infers; men are just as likely to suffer from chemo-related neuropathy as women.

Nerve Damage From Chemo May Affect Cancer Survivors for Years FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) 

Symptoms associated with falls, researchers say

-- Many women who survive cancer have symptoms of chemotherapy-related nerve damage in their feet and hands years after treatment, a new study reveals.

Moreover, this nerve damage -- called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy -- is associated with an increased risk of falls, the study found.

"We can't dismiss neuropathy as a treatment side effect that goes away, because symptoms persist for years in nearly half of women," said lead author Kerri Winters-Stone, a research professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

The study included 462 women who had survived cancer -- including breast, lung, colon, ovarian or blood cancers. At an average of six years after cancer diagnosis, 45 percent of them still had symptoms of nerve damage, such as loss of feeling in their hands and feet.

These symptoms were associated with much poorer physical functioning and difficulty doing daily tasks, such as cooking and shopping. The women with symptoms also had changes in their walking patterns and were nearly twice as likely to fall as those without such symptoms, the researchers discovered.

Falls can cause broken bones and other injuries, and possibly lead to earlier death, the study authors explained.

The study was to be presented Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in San Francisco.

"While there are no effective treatments for this side effect, rehabilitative exercise programs may preserve physical functioning and mobility in the presence of neuropathy to help prevent falls and resulting injuries," Winters-Stone said in a society news release.

ASCO spokesperson Dr. Merry-Jennifer Markham said chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy is an often under-recognized symptom among cancer survivors.

The findings of studies like this "will allow us to improve and tailor rehabilitation as needed," Markham said in the news release.

Male cancer survivors are as likely as women to have chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, the researchers said.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about peripheral neuropathy.

SOURCE: American Society of Clinical Oncology, news release, Jan. 11, 2016

-- Robert Preidt

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2016

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