Neurological symptoms at a glance

Neurological symptoms such as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can have substantial impacts on your quality of life and ability to complete cancer treatment. About 30 to 40% of people treated with neurotoxic chemotherapy will develop CIPN. CIPN can linger for years after treatment is stopped.1Seretny M, Currie GL et al. Incidence, prevalence, and predictors of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pain. 2014 Dec;155(12):2461-2470.

Neurological symptoms can display in several ways:

  • Changes in sensation or function such as pain, tingling, or lack of coordination
  • Muscle-related effects such as weakness or difficulty swallowing
  • Cognitive effects such as memory loss or language impairment
  • Pain-related effects such as headaches, back pain, or pain in hands or feet.

We discuss managing pain in our separate Pain handbook.

Both cancer itself and cancer treatments can cause or contribute to neurological symptoms and side effects. Conventional and complementary therapies can help you manage these symptoms.

Top practices and therapies for managing neurological symptoms

The effects of these practices and therapies on neurological symptoms are summarized on What approaches can help you manage neurological symptoms? ›

Therapies and practices we have reviewed

Further therapies

Therapies recommended in clinical practice guidelines but that we haven’t yet reviewed; see guidelines ›

Cold or heat
Hypnosis

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Other therapies

Other therapies have some evidence of benefit. The benefit may be meaningful or even substantial, but our reviews show the evidence so far is preliminary. These are listed on What approaches can help you manage neurological symptoms? ›

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Reviewer

Sarah Soles, ND

Naturopathic physician
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Dr. Sarah Soles completed her naturopathic medical training at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. During her internship on the adjunctive cancer care shift, she learned the immense value of combining naturopathic approaches with conventional cancer treatments. Dr. Soles went on to complete a two-year residency in naturopathic cancer care at the Integrated Health Clinic. She continues to help patients in all stages of their cancer journey—from screening and prevention to active treatment or maintaining a remission. She is also the research director for the Knowledge in Naturopathic Oncology Website and a contributing author to the Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology: A Desktop Guide to Integrative Cancer Care.

Sarah Soles, ND Naturopathic physician

Last update: March 26, 2023

Last full literature review: April 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care, and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocialtherapy, and acupuncture therapies and self carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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