Monday 12 December, 2022

A Quick Guide to Neuropathy

This is a quick guide to neuropathy, a common side effect experienced by many people undergoing treatment for cancer.

The side effects of cancer treatment are always a popular topic within our community. From fatigue to hair loss and the impact cancer can have on your mental health, our community members are good at offering advice and support to help cope. Recently, there’s been lots of talk about neuropathy, but do you know what it is?

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. The effects of this are often felt in the extremities (ie: the hands and feet).

How do you get it? 

There are a few things that can cause peripheral neuropathy. These include diabetes (types 1 and 2), physical injuries to the nerves, viral infections such as shingles and side effects to certain medications like some chemotherapy drugs.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain or tingling sensations, loss of balance or weakness, or a cut or ulcer that’s not getting better. It may also be sensitivity to touch and pain (throbbing or burning or jabbing, or simply pain in your extremities when you shouldn’t otherwise feel pain).

Other areas and bodily functions such as urination, circulation or digestion can also ne affected.

Many of our community members who experience neuropathy refer to it as the feeling of pins and needles. 

How do you treat it?

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy can depend on the symptoms and underlying cause. If you’re currently undergoing cancer treatment and experiencing symptoms of neuropathy, you must tell your medical team as soon as it starts so that they can look into it as soon as possible. It is also important to remember that the symptoms listed could be a sign of something else, so talking to your team early on will allow them sort out what it is. 

Although not all underlying causes of neuropathy can be treated, some nerve pain can be managed with painkillers.  For more information and advice on coping with the side effects of cancer treatment, you can also read this article

All information used in this article has been found on and Please visit their website for more information and speak to your medical team about any concerns you may have.

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