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Formerly known as California Oncology of the Central Valley Request an Appointment
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Formerly known as California Oncology of the Central Valley Request an Appointment

Peripheral Neuropathy

About Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy is nerve damage or dysfunction. Nerves are part of the nervous system, which is responsible for controlling and coordinating all of the parts of the body. They are long, fibrous structures that send messages, receive information, and process all of that data into chemical signals. Peripheral nerves specifically carry information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, organs, and skin, conveying feelings of temperature, numbness, pressure, and pain. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves have difficulty communicating with one another.

Peripheral neuropathy is a side effect of some chemotherapy drugs, especially in higher doses. It can occur during or shortly after receiving treatment and last a few days, or it can last longer and persist between treatments. Tingling and numbness are sometimes triggered by cold, whether eating, drinking, or touching something cold. Peripheral neuropathy typically resolves within 6-12 months after treatment, but for some, symptoms are longer-lasting or permanent.


  • Heavy, numb, or tingling feeling in arms or legs; pins and needles
  • Tripping or falling when walking
  • Difficulty lifting feet or toes
  • Difficulty picking up and holding objects
  • Difficulty using buttons
  • Cold feeling in arms or legs
  • Increased temperature sensitivity

Managing Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Contact the care team immediately if experiencing any symptoms. The provider can help reduce symptoms by treating the nerve damage early, along with making necessary adjustments to the therapy schedule and dosage. There are some prescription medications that can help manage pain caused by peripheral neuropathy, but they also have side effects. The best way to manage peripheral neuropathy is to take some simple precautions in life and continue communicating with the care team and provider about the symptoms.

Tips for Managing Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Wear gloves and warm socks, especially in winter
  • Wear shoes inside and out of the house
  • Add nonslip coverings to any slippery areas, like the bathroom and stairs
  • Use handrails
  • Tape down rug edges to avoid tripping
  • Test water temperatures with body parts not affected by neuropathy
  • Check shoes and feet for irritation
  • Physical or occupational therapy