Chemotherapy goes throughout the entire body. And it can damage healthy cells, such as skin or hair follicles, resulting in dry skin or hair loss. Some chemo agents can damage nerve endings, and the result is peripheral neuropathy.
- Burning pain
- Electrical shock
- Pins and needles
- Not knowing where to put your foot when walking
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
If you start experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to inform your doctor or nurse before your next chemotherapy appointment. Peripheral neuropathy can worsen if not managed, and delaying, reducing or slowing down your chemo treatment can stop the peripheral neuropathy worsening.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, as alcohol can cause nerve damage, it can exacerbate peripheral neuropathy
- Avoid extreme temperatures. As peripheral neuropathy can cause you to become more sensitive to hot and cold, avoid having very hot showers or baths, and keep your fingers and toes warm in cool months.
- You may not notice constriction caused by shoes or clothes, so it is best to wear loose clothing
- Look after your feet. Feet often get battered and not often looked at. But if you get a pebble in your shoe but you have numbness in your foot, you may not feel the pressure. This could lead to sores. Makes sure you wear appropriate footwear and keep your feet in good condition.
- Be careful when using sharp instruments such as scissors and knives if you have peripheral neuropathy in your fingers and hands.