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Anyone using icing of hands and feet during FOLFOX chemo to prevent neuropathy?

Posts: 553
Joined: Oct 2018

My cousin was just diagnosed with stage IV rectal cancer (liver mets).  Will be having oxaliplatin, 5-FU, and leucovorin (FOLFOX) regimen.  I've read that peripheral neuropathy is likely afterwards.

I had great success with icing my hands and feet during Taxol/carboplatin chemo for uterine cancer.  She's been told that this is "contraindicated" for FOLFOX regimen - I'm thinking that they've confused the subsequent cold-triggered neuropathy with PREVENTION of it by icing hands and feet to cause vasoconstriction during the infusion and hopefully prevent neuropathy from developing.

Anyone have experience or input?

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5453
Joined: Jan 2013

One of our members did this during chemo and she said it worked.  I know she posted a thread about it, so you could try searching or typing in her name, which was actually herdizziness. 


Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5453
Joined: Jan 2013

This is the thread I remembered Winter Marie talking about ice https://csn.cancer.org/node/322196 

Sadly, Winter has psased on. 


abita's picture
Posts: 1019
Joined: Dec 2017

Maybe it is contraindicated by of the sheer torturous pain that will be felt icing hands while being infused with oxaliplatin. 

Ruthmomto4's picture
Posts: 694
Joined: May 2013

I can't imagine how much pain this would cause!

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6706
Joined: Feb 2009

I've heard of that, but don't know if it is really medically proven.  People say to take certain vitamins to control neuropathy, but it didn't help me.  If it works, then go for it.  It can' really hurt that much if it is just ice, but if there is oxi involved, putting someone's hands and feet in ice will absolutely send them into shock waves because of the cold.  I'd be very careful in trying it.  Have your cousin "test the waters" first.


ThomasH's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2016

When I was on Oxi there is NO WAY I could have put my hands or feet or anything else into ice. I would get the sensation of brain freeze just drinking room temperature water.

I can't imagine how that would feel, but I did find that my neuropathy was probably worst for places where the nerves were stimulated the most. I had some pickles one day that made my mouth numb for over a week.


Posts: 34
Joined: Aug 2020

I did the same regimen for chemo and I cannot even imagine using ice to try and combat the neuropathy. The oxi made me so hypersensitive to cold that I had difficulty drinking even room-temperature water (felt like razor blades going down my throat). One day, after leaving a chemo session, I walked across the parking lot to my car in 55 degree weather with a slight breeze. Before I made it to my car, the oxi combined with the wind and cooler temperatures had affected my legs and it felt like I had logs for legs and I also could not blink my eyes until I got in my car and warmed up some. 
I would not recommend trying it as I think it would be very painful. 

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5453
Joined: Jan 2013

Yeah, that whole eye thing freaked me out.  My eyes twitched uncontrollably when I was out in the wind. It scared the livign daylights out of me, becasue it was a side effect I had not read about before. 


DanNH's picture
Posts: 119
Joined: Feb 2021

My wife's neuropathy was a little worse following this chemo (3). In looking over her holistic treatment plan (to complement chemo) I found a recommendation for icing during infusion. I spoke with the doc about this and he confirmed it as part of the plan. The theory is that the cold cause the blood capularies in the extremities being cooled to constrict, keeping the chemo drug out of that cooled extremity.

Thank's to Tru's link to the olde thread about this subject I went back and read through all of the dialogues. Those who did it swore by it. There were links to studies and recommendations for methods and gear.

Many of the studies and articles I read were for breast cancer chemo, but a few were for Folfox. I went to Amazon and read review for mittens and booties which led me to other sources. I read so much about this that I don't remember where what came from any more. I did read some reviews or comments where chemo patients said that their Oncologist recommended it or they got help from the infusion nurses.

The Mayo Clinic has a cooling cap to reduce hair loss from chemo, https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-cold-cap-therapy-can-reduce-hair-loss-caused-by-chemotherapy/.

Here is a Pubmed summary: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15994152/ Conclusion: FG significantly reduces the nail and skin toxicity associated with docetaxel and provides a new tool in supportive care management to improve a patient's quality of life.

This from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, "We conclude that cyrotherapy is a simple, safe, and effective strategy for the prevention of CIPN in patients with cancer undergoing paclitaxel treatment. Cyrotherapy could support the delivery of optimal chemotherapy by preventing a dose delay or reduction, as well as inhibiting the deterioration of quality of life in cancer patients during and after treatment."   https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/110/2/141/4443215

There is a risk that tumor cells in the extremities could survive the chemo because they find refuge where the medications can't get to them.

I am going to go over this with my wife and she will decide to try it or not. If we try it I will update on the results. Our next chemo is a week from Monday.

If anyone is considering this please follow Tru's link, https://csn.cancer.org/node/322196 . There is a lot to read. If anyone uses this I would love to hear about your experiences.  

From what I read I suspect that getting icing during chemo will one day be as routine as getting anti-nausea medication.


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