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Are you starting chemotherapy and worried about side effects?  A common concern people ask us about is preventing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, i.e. pain, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. For some patients, the nerve damage is temporary and for others it appears to be long-term. As such, this makes neuropathy a “dose-limiting side effect” of chemotherapy. So if the neuropathy gets too bad, they will reduce the dose of the chemotherapy you’re receiving.

How can I prevent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy?

At Hillgreen, a lot of our patients come in for acupuncture specifically to help with managing or preventing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) — or other types of neuropathy for that matter. And while acupuncture and Chinese herbs can provide excellent supportive care for CIPN, our patients are always keen to know “what ELSE can I do to prevent this nerve damage?”.

Well, one possibility under research seems to be supplementation with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). For example, a 2012 study looked at breast cancer patients using paclitaxel chemotherapy. It found a reduced incidence and frequency of CIPN in those supplementing with Omega-3 PUFAs. A 2020 randomized trial looked at patients going through colon cancer treatment using oxaliplatin plus capecitabine. This study found that supplementation with these Omega-3 PUFAs reduced the incidence and severity of neuropathy as well. Keep in mind that some meta-analyses say not enough evidence has been gathered up to this point to recommend Omega-3’s for prevention of CIPN. However, a Danish research group is now undertaking the OxaNeuro project. It’s a clinical trial to further examine Omega-3 effects on oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy. Excited to see the results!

Learning more about chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and other cancer treatment side effects

To read more about Hand-Foot syndrome from a Chinese medicine point of view, click here.

To watch our webinar on an introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine for cancer support, click here.

Want a free consultation about treatment for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy?  Fill in the form below, or click here for more information.

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