one of the most annoying experiences for cancer patients is the development of nerve damage due to the toxic effects of chemotherapy. This nerve damage is scientifically termed chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and it presents as numbness and or tingling in the extremities mainly the feet but the hands can be affected as well. Many chemotherapies are known to be responsible for neuropathy such as cisplatin, oxaliplatin, Taxol, Taxotere, vincristine, navelbine, and Capecitabine. The list is literally way more than these few chemotherapies, and include as well many recently introduced biologic agents and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. A recent meta-analysis based clinical research revealed that chemotherapy-induced neuropathy has a high prevalence rate of almost 68.1% within the first month of chemotherapy, 60% at the first 3 months, and 30% at the first 6 months https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304395914004436
From my experience being more focused on seeing oncology patients during their various stages of cancer treatment and supporting them with the naturopathic care, in two locations in Ontario, Toronto and Hamilton I can appreciate how much pain and sense of incapacitation and debility these patients have, and some of them, unfortunately, are no able to function as much as they used to .
So, a question what is the solution to this health problem?
As usual, we first discuss and explore the mainstream medical practice and advice then we discuss the role of the naturopathic medicine in this regard.
Medical oncologists treat chemotherapy-induced neuropathy with medications such as Gabapentin, however with a recent research done in this area, data revealed that Gabapentin did not improve the quality of life of cancer patients with neuropathy as proved in a recent prospective cohort clinical study done on 61 ovarian cancer patients treated with paclitaxel and carboplatin who were treated with Gabapentin for that purpose ( Mangowska M et al Ginekol Pol 2018) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29781075
Other solutions from alternative / Naturopathic Medicine in Canada
Many natural health products have been used for many years to manage chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and tried for different patients with varying degrees of response. These interventions include natural health products such as Omega 3 fish oils, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin E, L Glutamine and alpha lipoic acid, also acupuncture has been researched in many institutes. The research done on the natural health products developed over the years, and a recently published article in 2016 about using the natural health products in treating neuropathy caused by chemotherapy revealed that the most commonly used natural products for treating neuropathy such as Acetyl L-Carnitine and alpha lipoic acid is not anymore of great value in treating chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, however, other modalities such as acupuncture and omega 3 fish oils showed a better effect in improving the symptoms and the quality of life of these patients. (Cole‛ et al 2016 Critical Reviews in Oncology/ Hematology https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040842815300822?via%3Dihub
Have any questions?
Do not hesitate to contact us
For Hamilton and Grimsby, residents click this link: https://www.ontarionaturopathicclinic.ca/site/contact-naturpathic-dr-grimsby-niagara
For Toronto, residents click this link: https://www.ontarionaturopathicclinic.ca/site/contact-naturpathic-dr-toronto-north-york