A cancer diagnosis is anything but simple, and the road to healing is often paved with side effects from the aggressive treatments. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy treatments, the loss of appetite, energy, and even your hair can disrupt your life in significant ways. And we’re sorry to have to add peripheral neuropathy to the list of unfortunate side effects.
At St. Rose Integrative Medical Center, under the guidance of Dr. Yvonne C. Ortega, our goal is to ease this bumpy journey by minimizing the effects that chemotherapy can have on your life. Topping this list is peripheral neuropathy or, in layman’s terms, nerve damage. We work with our patients in the Henderson, Nevada area to recognize the early signs of neuropathy, giving us plenty of time to take action.
Here’s a look at how chemo-induced neuropathy develops, what symptoms you should look out for, and what we can do about it.
Of all the nerve
The heart of your nervous system includes both your brain and spinal cord. From there, thousands of miles of nerves branch out to reach every part of your body. This vast network is comprised of your peripheral nerves, which are pathways used by your central nervous system to control function and sensation throughout your body.
When you undergo chemo treatments, the medications are designed to eradicate your cancer cells. Unfortunately, the medications often take a slash-and-burn approach to your problem, damaging or killing anything in their path — good or bad. Chemotherapy often tackles the weakest areas first, including your peripheral nerves.
In other words, the farther your nerves are from your central nervous system, the more vulnerable and sensitive they can be to the chemotherapy drugs.
When neuropathy sets in
Peripheral neuropathy causes damage to your outlying nerves, often in your extremities, such as your arms and legs. This nerve damage is often progressive as more chemotherapy drugs are introduced and the damage begins to take its toll, leading to:
- Unexplained pain, which can come and go
- Increasing numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
- A burning feeling
- Loss of sensation to hot or cold
- A loss of balance
- Slower reflexes
In extreme cases, neuropathy can lead to bowel or bladder problems.
We understand the frustration that comes with battling cancer, and our goal is to give you one less thing to worry about. We specialize in neuropathy and have a number of tools that not only ward off neuropathy, but help breathe new life into damaged nerves.
To start, we work with your oncologists to see whether a change in your chemotherapy treatments may improve your situation. We also load you up with neuropathy-fighting minerals and nutrients, such as vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium.
One of the most effective tools in our arsenal is stem cell therapy to encourage nerve regeneration and regrowth. Stem cell therapy is fast becoming a treatment of choice in a number of different medical circles because of their ability to speed up healing and repair. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, which when introduced into damaged tissue, become whatever cell is needed for the task at hand.
These cells provide a much-needed boost in areas where cells are beleaguered and unable to keep up with the damage caused by your chemotherapy treatments.
If you suspect your chemotherapy is damaging more than your cancer cells, please give us a call to find out more about our neuropathy treatments. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up a consultation.