(June 23, 2017) A clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology focused on a largely understudied area of cancer survivorship: chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in women. Forty seven percent of the 512 women in the trial reported CIPN an average of 6 years after their treatment ended. Symptoms of CIPN reported during the trial included a slower gait and shorter, more frequent steps, which lead to a higher likelihood of falling. Falling was seen in younger women with CIPN more than their asymptomatic counterparts, and even in the elderly population.
Not only do healthcare costs rise with CIPN, but researchers added that poor physical function in cancer survivors can mean shorter survival times. For these reasons, the authors of the study emphasized earlier intervention is needed and clinical practice and exercise guidelines need to be strengthened.
The authors stated that, “Our data suggest that the etiology of disability and falls associated with CIPN symptoms may be unique; thus, efforts to define, implement, and evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of specific prevention strategies for persons with CIPN are urgently needed.”