How peripheral neuropathy can affect you
Peripheral neuropathy can affect a person’s quality of life in many ways. The impact varies from one person to another, but it can include:
- discomfort and pain from physical symptoms
- trouble completing everyday tasks (such as doing up buttons) because of finger numbness and loss of fine motor control
- high risk of scalds and cuts because of numbness – in addition, chemotherapy often lowers your resistance to infection, so minor burns and cuts can quickly become serious
- risk of not noticing injuries, which may become more serious because they aren’t treated promptly
- difficulty walking because you have numbness or pain in your feet, you find it hard to keep your balance and/or you can’t sense where your feet are in relation to the ground
- high risk of falls because of numb feet, dizziness, balance problems and difficulty sensing where your body is in space
- poor sleep because of shooting pains
- not being able to drive because of numb feet and difficulty sensing where your body is in space
- not being able to return to work or other activities
- feeling isolated if it is hard to move around
- money issues because of health care costs
- feeling that you have lost your independence.
|It is important to tell your treatment team if you start having any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy or notice a change in your symptoms. Adjusting your cancer treatment may allow the nerves to recover and avoid permanent damage. Your team can also check whether anything else is causing the symptoms.|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Susanna Park, IN FOCUS research program and Senior Lecturer, Brain and Mind Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, NSW; Katrina Dick, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Phil Mendoza-Jones, Consumer; Jodie Nixon, Clinical Team Leader, Occupational Therapy, Cancer Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Rachel Tunney, Consumer; Jane Turner, Senior Exercise Physiologist, Sydney Cancer Survivorship Centre, Concord Hospital, NSW; Dr Shirley Wong, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Sunshine Hospital, Western Health, VIC.
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