Updated: Sunday, August 24, 2014 06:02:12 PM

Editor: Donald J Melancon, P.O. Box 7948 Amarillo, TX 79114-7948 210-401-1604 email  Web site:

Unless indicated otherwise, the following descriptions and tips are summaries contributed by readers of "CONVERSATIONS! The International Newsletter for Those Fighting Ovarian Cancer." Some suggestions were found to be useful in dealing with the problems caused by neuropathy. Other tips were not helpful, but I felt the "didn't work" ideas to be just as important to pass along to you. Almost all of those successful with obtaining relief used a combination of these ideas. If you have more to add, please send them to me and I'll add them to the next revision. All of the journals cited as sources are mainstream medical journals. It is unknown whether the research and suggestions for relief of neuropathy associated with diabetes will work for neuropathy associated with chemotherapy. First printed June 1996 with revisions each year through June 2002.

*Please note: When in doubt about the effectiveness of any treatment, always consult with a qualified health care practitioner. The following tips are only suggestions which have been learned through much experience. Also, please remember that when dealing with the body, there are no absolutes and there will always be exceptions to the rule because each body is unique. It is very important to ensure that the symptoms of neuropathy are a side effect of chemotherapy and are not the side effect of some other health condition or cancer progression.

SUMMARY: Some oncologists believe that the best treatment of peripheral neuropathy is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. This is best done by giving Amifostine (Ethyol) with each and every treatment of a chemotherapy drug which has the potential for causing neuropathy (and almost all of those used to treat ovarian cancer have that neuropathy-inducing potential). Because the development of neuropathy is gradual and symptoms are often delayed or peak after the chemo is finished, waiting until the symptoms appear or until later courses of chemo is not a prevention. Some studies suggest that Amifostine (Ethyol) may work to reduce existing neuropathy. All other tips are aimed only at relief of what may be irreversible damage to the nerves.

What is peripheral neuropathy???

Who is at high risk???

What kind of physician specialist is most likely to be able to treat the peripheral neuropathy, and how can I find one???

Are there any other health care specialists who might be useful to treat the neuropathy???

What drugs used to treat ovarian cancer commonly cause neuropathy???

Is there anything which may prevent the development of neuropathy??? slow its progress or spread???

Will the drug Amifostine (Ethyol) help prevent or limit the development of neuropathy???

Do anti-depressant medicines really work to relieve the pain???

What about the use of the prescription drug Gabapentin (Neurontin)???

Do any other types of medicines, such as pain killers, work for relief of neuropathy???

Are there any herbs, foods, or food supplements which may help???

Do vitamins help relieve the symptoms of neuropathy???

Will massages, acupuncture, or acupressure massages relieve the symptoms of neuropathy???

Are there any creams for rubbing or massages which help relieve the burning sensation???

Does application of heat or cold help???

Does exercise help or worsen neuropathy???

Some suggested precautions about shoes and walking if you have neuropathy

Some suggested precautions if you have balance difficulties or loss of sensation about where hands/feet are located

General suggestions for coping with peripheral neuropathy

Resources (books, Internet discusssion list, articles, associations, etc) focused on peripheral neuropathy

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