There is no sure way to prevent chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), but there are things you can do to manage your symptoms. During treatment, your cancer care team will ask you about your symptoms and watch you to see if the CIPN is getting worse. Your team may need to delay your treatment, use smaller doses of the chemo drugs, or stop treatment with the drug that is causing the CIPN until your symptoms get better. These actions must be started right away to prevent long-term damage that won’t get better.
Treatment can often help ease some of the symptoms of CIPN. Sometimes these symptoms go away a short time after treatment is done. But sometimes they last much longer and need long-term treatment. Severe CIPN may never go away.
Treatment is mostly given to relieve the pain that can come with CIPN. Some of the drugs used include:
Researchers are looking at which drugs work best to relieve this kind of pain. It may take more than one try to find out what works best for you.
Other treatments that can be tried to ease nerve pain and its effects on your life include:
There are some things you can do to better manage the symptoms of CIPN, such as:
When your sense of feeling is affected by CIPN, you might be more likely to injure yourself by accident. Here are some things you can do to stay safe:
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care team:
It’s important to work closely with your doctor or nurse to manage peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy. Talk to your doctor about any changes in how you feel, and any trouble you have walking or holding things. Tell the doctor how your symptoms affect the things you do every day.
If you get medicines for CIPN, be sure to tell your doctor if the drugs are helping and if new problems start up. You might also want to talk with your doctor about whether you can get into a clinical trial to help deal with your CIPN.
If you are concerned about how future treatment might affect your quality of life, talk with your doctor about what’s most important to you. Remember that only you can decide whether you want to get, or keep getting, a certain treatment.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
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Last Revised: March 5, 2021
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