- Question from Cathy: My daughter has very painful tingling in all fingers and toes. Her last chemo was September 2006. Lately she's fallen down a few times as her feet were "dead." Anything you can suggest to speed up recovery of the nerves and/or relieve the pain? Does massage help the nerve endings?
The sensation of tingling and numbness in both the feet and hands as a result of chemotherapy is very common. Unfortunately, there are very few conventional treatments to help combat this problem. It is important, however, to make sure that your medical oncologist knows of this problem, and to make sure he/she knows the severity of this problem if it's actually interfering with balance and mobility. There are some complementary therapies that should be explored to help with peripheral neuropathy, as it's called—the sensation of tingling in the hands and feet. One that's being explored extensively is the use of acupuncture to help with this problem. You should be able to tell after a relatively short period of time whether it's going to relieve some of the sensations.
Reiki as well as light touch massage may also be useful, but there isn't a lot of evidence to suggest that these modalities will be useful, simply because there hasn't been the research conducted. We do know that over time the sensations should dissipate. On average, it can take up to a year or a year and a half before the tingling fully disappears. However, as mentioned at the beginning, it is very important that all conditions are discussed with your daughter's medical oncologist.
- Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Acupuncture has been very successful in my practice with these symptoms, and for those patients who have an aversion to needles after their extensive treatment, acupuncture treatments can be performed with sound and vibrational energy. So don't let a fear of needles prevent you from seeking acupuncture as a complementary modality.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Complementary Medicine Techniques Part 3 featured Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about different types of complementary techniques and how they can help during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
A production of LiveWorld, Inc.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.