Peripheral neuropathy is a blanket term for pain and discomfort and other symptoms that result from damage to peripheral nerves, which are the nerves that extend away from the brain and spinal cord.The peripheral nervous system carries signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body, and then returns nerve signals from the periphery to be received by the spinal cord and brain. Any problems along the way can affect the skin, muscles, and joints of your hands, feet, and other parts of the body.Many things can cause neuropathy, including certain chemotherapy drugs. Damage to peripheral nerves by these drugs is called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, abbreviated as CIPN. CIPN isn’t uncommon. Of people with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy, about 30 to 40 percent develop CIPN. It’s one of the reasons that some stop cancer treatment early.
Symptoms can appear as soon as chemotherapy begins. Symptoms tend to get worse as the chemotherapy regimen progresses. It’s a temporary problem for some, lasting only a few days or weeks.For others, it can last for months or years and can even become a lifelong problem. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions that cause neuropathy or take other prescription drugs that cause it.
CIPN generally affects both sides of your body the same way. Symptoms are likely to begin in your toes but can move to your feet, legs, hands, and arms. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Some of the more common symptoms are:
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