Neuropathy from chemotherapy professionally referred to as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), is one of the most common yet undesirable effects of administering cancer-fighting medications like vinca alkaloids, antitubulins, thalidomide, platinum analogs, and bortezomib.
One of the side effects of chemotherapy drugs and other treatment to tackle illness such as breast cancer or prostate cancer is neuropathy: the disorder of the nerves that send signals from the body to the brain and spinal cord, then back to the body.
Chemotherapy is one of the modern methods of treating cancerous cells but it does so at the expense of the nerves that link the central nervous system to the internal organs as well as the skin and muscles.
According to Healthline, about 30–40% of individuals who undergo chemotherapy usually develop neuropathy, which is one of the reasons why some health care personnel stop cancer treatment early. This damage, which affects mainly the peripheral nerves leads to pain, tingling, burning sensations, numbness, and weakness, is a dysfunction known as peripheral neuropathy.
The probability that a person will come up with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy depends on a number of factors with the main factors including the type of medications used for CIPN and the dosage. However, chemotherapy may not be fully responsible as a certain type of cancers can compress a particular nerve.
In the same vein, some underlying conditions might worsen a person’s reaction to chemotherapy. For people receiving chemotherapy, the chances of developing neuropathy might increase if the following conditions are present illnesses:
Neuropathy Symptoms Caused by Chemotherapy
CIPN affects the nerve endings in the extremities causing quite a number of symptoms which include:
In some rare cases, CIPN can have an adverse effect on the nerves involved in motor and autonomic functions. The resulting autonomic nerve damage causes patients to feel hazy when they sit or try to stand up.
Autonomic nerve damage can also cause problems with bowels and urinary elimination, abnormal blood pressure, organ failure, difficulty in breathing, paralysis, and irregularities in heart functions. The most commonly affected areas are the fingers, hands, feet and toes, as well as bowels, chest, back and face.
In most cases, the symptoms of neuropathy will begin as soon as the CIPN starts and will worsen as the treatment progresses. Sometimes, these symptoms will last for a few days or weeks and disappear thereafter. It can last for a couple of months or even years, depending on the severity. Neuropathy, which can become a lifelong problem, is usually a result of an underlying medical condition.
How to Treat Nerve Pain and Chemotherapy
As soon as your oncologist has established that the peripheral neuropathy is an inimical effect of CIPN, it is necessary to launch into a treatment routine that will delay the adverse effects while improving your quality of life. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe the following to relieve the symptoms:
Management of symptoms
While treatment of the nerve pain resulting from chemotherapy has been proven to be very beneficial, another method that works just fine is managing the symptoms to improve your quality of life. The following ways have been proven to help:
There is currently no formula that has been proven to help stop nerve dysfunction that occurs as a result of CIPN.
However, a small number of surveys have proven that administering glutathione, magnesium, and calcium supplements have the potential to help inhibit the progression, though the results of the surveys were mixed.
Other studies have shown that anti-seizure drugs play a crucial role in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, though the results are still not convincing.
Good dietary habits help to slow down the rate of nerve damage—this is a fact. However, various food practices can strip food items of vital nutrients which are very essential in protecting the nerves from damage. This is why dietary supplementation is advised for those suffering from certain types of nerve damage.
A highly recommended product, however, is Nerve Renew. This regenerative supplement contains high-quality ingredients which are known to help slow down nerve dysfunction. Some of the compounds in the blend include Methylcobalamin, the most easily absorbed form of cobalamin; Benfotiamine, the most easily absorbed form of thiamine; and a very powerful anti-oxidant for nerve damage called standardized R-Alpha lipoic acid, or Alpha-lipoic acid.