Preventing Neuropathy during Chemotherapy

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If a patient develops neuropathy during chemotherapy, doctors may have to stop or change their cancer treatment. But a new treatment is using ice to help patients continue their chemotherapy while lowering their risk for neuropathy.

“It felt cold right away. I think I have a good pain tolerance, so I wouldn’t say it was painful, just uncomfortable,” said Claudette Kamsch, a patient at the Regional Cancer Center.

It’s discomfort she says she will endure if it means lowering her risk for neuropathy. “My treatment like today, I could be here for five hours, but if it wouldn’t give you neuropathy, I would do it,” she said.

Not long after Claudette started chemotherapy, she started to develop neuropathy, so doctors had to change her treatment. “The most common is it starts in the tips of fingers and toes and then it can start developing and moving upward. It can be just a mild sensation of numbness or tingling, and in some cases, it can cause severe causing pain, and in extreme cases, it can develop into paralysis,” explained Dr. Fadi Abu Shahin, a gynecologic oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.

Neuropathy is permanent. Once a patient develops symptoms, there is no treatment to alleviate them. But new research shows cryotherapy may prevent patients from developing neuropathy. The gloves are worn 15 minutes before treatment, during treatment, and then 15 minutes after treatment. “They wear gloves that are special gloves that have ice packs in them and special stockings that have ice packs also. The goal is to cool the hands and feet and to reduce the blood flow to the hands and feet,” said Dr. Shahin.

While cryotherapy can’t reverse the symptoms, it can prevent them. A new option that’s helping patients complete their chemotherapy without developing neuropathy.

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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.



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