Our nervous system is made up of 2 parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of our brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system is made up of all the other nerves. These nerves send information between our brain and our body, and helps us with our sensations, movements and certain bodily functions. When our peripheral nerves are damaged, it results in a condition called “peripheral neuropathy”.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
What you need to look out for
Although it may not be possible to prevent peripheral neuropathy in the course of cancer treatment, we can prevent it from worsening. This is why it is important to inform your doctor or nurse once you experience any new symptoms. Depending on the nerve involved, you may notice changes in your sensations, movements or bodily functions, which may manifest as any of the following:
How it can be treated
Treatment depends on the cause and the related problems. In some cases, you may need to stop your anti-cancer treatment to prevent further nerve damage and stop problems from getting worse. Full recovery can take months to years. However, sometimes the condition may be more difficult to treat and will require long-term management. Common treatments for peripheral neuropathy include:
What you can do
Below are some tips you may find helpful, in managing peripheral neuropathy.
Keeping yourself safe
When to call your cancer care team
Please inform your doctor or nurse as soon as you notice any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy as mentioned above, or
if your symptoms worsen.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please call the Cancer Helpline at
+65 6225 5655 or approach your doctor or nurse for further details.
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The above contents are made available as part of TEMASEK FOUNDATION-ACCESS (Accessible Cancer Care to Enable Support for Survivors) PROGRAMME, a holistic care programme to support cancer patients during their care and recovery journey.
The contents have been approved by the Cancer Education Information Service, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), for people with cancer and their families and caregivers. However, this information serves only as a guide and should not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. For specific medical conditions, please seek expert medical advice from your healthcare team.
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