Cancer Patients Experiencing Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a term used to describe sick or injured nerves. The peripheral nerves are the ones located outside your brain and spinal cord. In people with cancer, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, or the cancer can be the cause of nerve damage. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on the type of nerve(s) affected and where the nerve is located in the body. If nerves to the skin are affected you may have:

-Numbness and tingling (pins and needle feeling)
-A feeling you are wearing an invisible glove or sock
-Extreme sensitivity to touch
-Burning feeling in toes or fingers
-Can’t feel hot or cold, or the ability to feel hot/cold is lessened

If nerves to the internal organs are affected you may have:

-Dizziness
-Constipation
-Bladder difficulties
-Sexual problems

If nerves to the muscles are affected you may have:

-Muscle weakness (trouble turning a knob)
-Muscle cramping
-Muscle spasms
-Problems with balance

Exercise prescribed by a doctor and supervised by a physical therapist, can increase strength, circulation, and coordination. It is important to keep as much muscle strength and function as possible.

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