Chemotherapy can impact or damage the body’s peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves carry sensations (or neurological messages) to and from the brain and spine, to control feeling and movement in different parts of the body including arms, legs, hands and feet. They also control the bowel and bladder. Damage to peripheral nerves that is caused by chemotherapy is called 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 survivors to improve their function and quality of life.
Information for cancer survivors and their families
- Cancer Council factsheet: Understanding peripheral neuropathy and cancer
- Cancer Council booklet: Exercise for people living with cancer
- eviQ Education factsheet: Information for patients: Peripheral neuropathy during cancer treatment
- Counterpart webinar: Peripheral neuropathy
- National Comprehensive Cancer Centre (NCCN) website: What is peripheral neuropathy (US)
- American Cancer Society (ACS) website: Peripheral neuropathy (US)
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute website: Tips for managing neuropathy (US)
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guideline (2020): Prevention and management of Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in survivors of adult cancers: ASCO guideline update (US)
- Journal of Cancer Survivorship (2020): Systematic review of the effectiveness of self-initiated interventions to decrease pain and sensory disturbances associated with peripheral neuropathy (US)
Additional information for health professionals
- eviQ Education factsheet: Antineoplastic induced peripheral neuropathy
- eviQ Education screening tool: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy screening tool
- Cancer Institute NSW website: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in Australian cancer survivors
- ASCO guidelines podcast: Prevention and management of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in survivors of adult cancers guideline update (US)
Clinical services at Peter Mac Parkville
The following services are available to patients of Peter Mac, Parkville. If you are treated elsewhere, please speak with your oncology team, as you may have different clinical service options.
- Physiotherapy services. Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can assist with mobility and physical function before, during and after cancer treatment.
- Occupational therapy services. Occupational therapists can help you to improve your independence, safety, control, wellbeing and quality of life.
- Pain services. This service provides evidence-based, safe and effective pain management for people with current or past cancer.
- Optimisation Clinic. This multidisciplinary outpatient clinic is for cancer survivors with complex needs. Services include a dietitian, psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. For referrals please email [email protected] or [email protected] for further information.
Other clinical services in the Parkville precinct
The following services are available to patients of the Parkville precinct (Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital). Peter Mac is also part of the Parkville precinct, with services listed separately, above. If you are treated elsewhere, please speak with your oncology team, as you may have different clinical service options.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital: Clinical Neurophysiology/Peripheral Neuropathy Program. This service offers neurological assessments including electrodiagnostic tests and nerve conduction studies, and an outpatient clinic to support people with neuromuscular disorders.