Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy



Cancer Education

Chemotherapy can affect or damage your body’s peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves carry sensations (or neurological messages) to and from your brain and spine to control feeling and movement in various parts of your body. This can include your arms, legs, hands and feet. These nerves also control the bowel and bladder. We call the damage to peripheral nerves that cancer causes 'Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy,’ or CIPN.

CIPN symptoms may include:  

  • Feelings of numbness, weakness, tingling ‘pins and needles,’ burning 
  • Reduced ability to feel hot and cold 
  • Discomfort or pain in your hands and feet

Understanding what CIPN is, and learning how to manage it, can help you to improve your function and quality of life.  

Information for cancer survivors and their carers 



Clinical services at Peter Mac Melbourne campus 

The following services are available to Peter Mac patients in Melbourne. If we are treating you elsewhere, please speak with your oncology team, as you may have different clinical service options.  

  • Occupational therapy services: Occupational therapists can help you maximise independence, safety, comfort, and personal satisfaction. Doing so improves your sense of well-being and quality of life.
  • Physiotherapy services: Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can help with mobility and physical function. They can help before, during and after cancer treatment.
  • Pain services: This service provides evidence-based, safe and effective pain management for people living with and beyond cancer.
  • Optimisation clinic: This multidisciplinary outpatient clinic is for cancer survivors with complex needs. Services include a dietitian, psychologist, physiotherapist, and occupational therapist. Speak to your treating team to be referred to this clinic.

Other clinical services in the Parkville precinct 

The following services are available to patients of the Parkville precinct. The precinct includes the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital. We are also part of the Parkville precinct, with services listed elsewhere. Please speak with your oncology team if you are being treated elsewhere. You may have different clinical service options.   

The Royal Melbourne Hospital 

The Clinical Neurophysiology/Peripheral Neuropathy Program offers:

  • Neurological assessments including electrodiagnostic tests and nerve conduction studies 
  • Outpatient clinic to support people with neuromuscular disorders