Cancer and Neuropathy

Andrew Schorr:

Well, so I think there are some important issues to talk about as we continue. The first is communication because you don't really have, I would think you don't it's not like you can do a CT scan or something and see neuropathy. It's communication between the patient and the healthcare team, so I want to talk about that. And then also of course we are going to talk about how can you at M. D. Anderson help people as you have helped Janice in limiting the effects of neuropathy so people can go on with their lives.

Let's just take just one minute before we take a brief break, Dr. Oh. Let's talk about communication. How important is it for the patient to say, you know, I don't know if this is connected by I have got this funny feeling or this tingling or and as you say sometimes with movement things you are not even aware of it, but communication and even just with a checkup, the analysis you all do to try to look for signs of neuropathy as well?

Dr. Oh:

Yes. I think that's the most important message I would have for the patients is to tell them that it's okay to tell about all their problems to their doctor. Sometimes they are so focused on fighting the cancer that they feel like "oh, this is not important enough for me to mention to my doctor" and it's very important they mention everything that they feel so we can adjust [the treatment]. And sometimes, like in case of Janice because she had diabetes, there were some products that we could try to give to try to minimize the neuropathy from coming instead of waiting until we have the full effect of it.

Andrew Schorr:

Right. Well, we are going to talk about that, but of course there you were already on the lookout for it because Janice already had some neuropathy from diabetes. Other people maybe don't have any history like that, but yet these subtle signs, sometimes not so subtle, can creep in.

Janice, we are going to take a break in a second, but before we do what would you say to people listening about the importance of very active communication on what they are feeling so that they can get some help?

Janice:

Well, first of all M. D. Anderson is great with giving you literature and a total book actually on symptoms and things that could happen. And, you know, you just do a rundown. And as you are going into it or before you start your chemo, it's good to read it and then communication and finding a doctor like Dr. Oh that you can communicate with, and he listens well, and he responds well. Those things are just most important.

Andrew Schorr:

Right. I echo that. I believe that is so important.

Well, we are going to take a brief break, and when we come back we are going to talk with Dr. Oh and Janice from the patient perspective on what can be done now to manage neuropathy. If you are experiencing it, how it can be limited, how you can go on with your life and be a cancer survivor who can enjoy life hopefully to the fullest. Much more coming up as we continue our discussion on neuropathy on Patient Power brought to you by M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. We'll be right back.

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