Chemotherapy saves lives, but it can also result in long-lasting side effects. Until recently, oncologists did not know how often breast cancer survivors had to live with pain as a result of their treatment.
Breast Cancer Survivors and Neuropathy:
Two new studies show that women treated for early stage breast cancer may suffer from the numbness, tingling or pain of peripheral neuropathy in their feet for years afterwards. Relatively few studies of chemotherapy effectiveness actually follow up on such side effects, which can have a big impact on quality of life.
How Common Is Peripheral Neuropathy Among Breast Cancer Survivors?
To determine how common peripheral neuropathy might be, the investigators examined data from more than 1,500 breast cancer patients in the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Protocol B-30. After two years of treatment, about 42 percent of the patients reported neuropathy, with 10 percent in severe pain.
Lower Dose Chemo Caused Less Nerve Pain:
The analysis showed that lower-dose docetaxel combinations to treat this cancer were less likely to trigger peripheral neuropathy. However, older or heavier breast cancer survivors appear to be more vulnerable.