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taxol and neuropathy

Posts: 117
Joined: Jul 2009

I'm wondering if anyone can give me some info and thoughts about neuropathy that happens during Taxol treatments. I've done 4 AC treatments and 2 taxol treatments with 2 more to go. Everything I heard made it sound like taxol was going to be a breeze and it is in a lot of ways, but I've got tingling in my right foot and my fingertips that seems like it's getting worse. I'm worried it's cumulative and I've read that it can be permanent. I'm taking vitamin B6 and glutamine as suggested by my nutritionist and it seemed to help my foot, but then my fingertips have started getting worse. Has anyone had this and seen it go away once chemo ended? Anyone have any other suggestions about how to handle it?

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

I can't answer your questions Mickeymom as I haven't had chemo nor taxol. Many on here have though and I am sure will respond. Just want to say that I wish you good luck!

Sue :)

TxLady's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm still on taxol (week 8 of 12), so I can't answer for whether or not it will go away after chemo ends..... However, I did discuss neuropathy with my oncologist. Mine is intermittent. Sometimes I have numbness/tingling in my feet (not my hands tho'). Other days I don't. My onc told me to keep him updated because my chemo dosage would be adjusted if it was constant or became too painful.

scout5000's picture
Posts: 94
Joined: Apr 2009

I too had 4 AC treatments. I completed 3 out of 4 treatments of Taxol on July 25, 2009. I did not do the final treatment due to neuropathy. After my third treatment I could no longer hold a pen to write or cut my food, and the bottoms of my feet were numb. My oncologist suggested I think about stopping treatment after my second Taxol, stating that the neuropathy could become permanent, I opted for the third treatment. I can write again and cut food, but fingers and feet are still numb. I had a second opinion at UCLA and that oncologist said that having the 4 AC plus 3 Taxols was plenty of heavy duty chemo. I think the feeling will come back in hands and feet, it gets better every week. Good luck.

lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi mm, I did have tingling in my fingers and toes with Taxol (last summer) and it has gone away. It went away so long ago, I don't remember when it was completely gone! Have you talked to your oncologist about it? Lynn

Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

You should probably call your oncologist and let him see what it is. Hopefully, he can help you thru this. Good luck!

Posts: 117
Joined: Jul 2009

I have talked to my oncologst about it and we are mostly keeping an eye on it. She suggested Vitamin B6 and my nutritionist added glutamine both of which seem to have reduced it a little. I had a bit of an alergic reaction to my second taxol treatment so they are watching the whole thing pretty closely. My oncologist says that in severe cases it can stay around for years, but that she has seen some patients have it go away quickly or over a matter of months. I just wanted to hear it from someone who's been through it. My oncologist tends to make side effects seem less troublesome than they really are.

phoenixrising's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Feb 2007

Try to keep your hands and feet cold during tx. This is the same as chewing ice chips during tx to prevent mouth sores. I was told by the onc nurse at our hospital that they will be getting a type of glove for patients that are like "ice gloves" but I'm not sure what they're made of or what they look like. At any rate, you want to decrease the circulation in your feet and hands so a hot bath after tx would probably not be a good idea. I also found this article as well and hope it helps. If I were to do it over again I'd stick my feet in bags of ice 'cause this can really decrease your quality of life.

Hand-Foot Syndrome
Other terms: Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia; PPE

What is hand-foot syndrome?

Also called hand-foot syndrome or hand-to-foot syndrome, Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia is a side effect, which can occur with several types of chemotherapy or biologic therapy drugs used to treat cancer. For example, Capecitabine (Xeloda®), 5-Flurouracil (5FU), continuous-infusion doxorubicin, doxorubicin liposomal (Doxil®), and high-dose Interleukin-2 can cause this skin reaction for some patients. Following administration of chemotherapy, small amounts of drug leak out of very small blood vessels called capillaries in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Exposure of your hands and feet to heat as well as friction on your palms and soles increases the amount of drug in the capillaries and increases the amount of drug leakage. This leakage of drug results in redness, tenderness, and possibly peeling of the palms and soles. The redness, also known as palmar-plantar erythema, looks like sunburn. The areas affected can become dry and peel, with numbness or tingling developing. Hand-foot syndrome can be uncomfortable and can interfere with your ability to carry out normal activities.

Things you can do if you suspect hand-foot syndrome (Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia):

Prevention: Prevention is very important in trying to reduce the development of hand-foot syndrome. Actions taken to prevent hand-foot syndrome will help reduce the severity of symptoms should they develop.

•This involves modifying some of your normal daily activities to reduce friction and heat exposure to your hands and feet for a period of time following treatment (approximately one week after IV medication, much as possible during the time you are taking oral (by mouth) medication such as capcitabine).
◦Avoid long exposure of hands and feet to hot water such as washing dishes, long showers, or tub baths.
◦Short showers in tepid water will reduce exposure of the soles of your feet to the drug.
◦Dishwashing gloves should not be worn, as the rubber will hold heat against your palms.
◦Avoid increased pressure on the soles of the feet or palms of hands.
◦No jogging, aerobics, power walking, jumping - avoid long days of walking.
◦You should also avoid using garden tools, household tools such as screwdrivers, and other tasks where you are squeezing your hand on a hard surface.
◦Using knives to chop food may also cause excessive pressure and friction on your palms.

Cooling procedures:

•Cold may provide temporary relief for pain and tenderness caused by hand-foot syndrome.
•Placing the palms or bottoms of your feet on an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas may be very comforting. Alternate on and off for 15-20 minutes at a time.

•Rubbing lotion on your palms and soles should be avoided during the same period, although keeping these areas moist is very important between treatments.
•Emollients such as Aveeno®, Lubriderm®, Udder Cream®, and Bag Balm® provide excellent moisturizing to your hands and feet.
Pain relief:

•Over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) may be helpful to relieve discomfort associated with hand-foot syndrome. Check with your doctor.

•Taking Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may be beneficial to preventing and treating Plantar-Palmar Erythrodysesthesia, and should be discussed with your doctor.
Drugs/treatment changes that may be prescribed by your doctor:

•Chemotherapy treatments may need to be interrupted or the dose adjusted to prevent worsening of hand-foot syndrome.
When to call your doctor or health care professional:

•If you notice that your palms or soles become red or tender. This most often occurs before any peeling, and recommendations for relief of discomfort can be given. If you are on chemotherapy pills, you may be asked to hold treatment, or need your dose adjusted to prevent worsening of symptoms.

Kylez's picture
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Thanks Jan for this info. You are always so good at this! :)

♥ Kylez ♥

Stace_aka_Pollyanna's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: Oct 2010

Bumping Thread for Carrie... helps I hope :)

Posts: 22
Joined: Sep 2009

I had 4 treatments of taxol, lost all the feeling in my finger tips, my fingernails and my toenails turned black, I was scared, 11 months later I have my feeling in my finger tips back. I don`t even know when it exactly came back, it just did. I guess I just got used to it. My oncologist was right it could take up to a year and it pretty much did. Hated that drug but it works and i am alive. I know you have heard these words before and sometimes I hated it when people told me that you will feel better, it is all worth it, and its a small price to pay for being cured, I love all those people who told me those words because they were right. I am almost there mentally and physically, my next step is reconstruction. I am greatful for taxol, my recent tests show I am clear of cancer. I wish you well............Jean

Posts: 117
Joined: Jul 2009

Jean, Since I started this thread a while back I've had my third Taxol treatment and now - five days later - my fingers are worse and tingle all the time. It has me really scared because I still have one more treatment to go and I'm afraid I won't be able to use my hands once it's finished. I've been sad and blue about it all day yesterday and today and I am having trouble figuring out how I'll get through this. It's been a couple of really black days for me. I couldn't believe it when I logged on the site and my thread was right at the top with your words of support. Don't you love it when you get what you need! Sometimes it gets so hard and I really need to hear that I can get through this. I know I need to get through the side effects somehow because the drug will keep me here and alive and that is what I want. I'm happy to know that eventually your hands went back to normal. It helps. Thanks for reminding me that I do have the strength.

I'm glad to hear you are doing so well! Good luck with your reconstruction. Debbie

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