Diagnosed with Cancer? Your two greatest challenges are understanding cancer and understanding possible side effects from chemo and radiation.  Knowledge is Power!

Learn about conventional, complementary, and integrative therapies.

Dealing with treatment side effects? Learn about evidence-based therapies to alleviate your symptoms.

Click the orange button to the right to learn more.

CIPN Chemobrain Related!?

Share Button

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that, according to the first study linked below,  CIPN and Chemobrain are related. As a cancer survivor myself who lives with both CIPN and Chemobrain, I have noticed that my symptoms overlap. And once I read the study linked below, I realized that my improving Chemobrain led to fewer falls. Meaning, my improving chemobrain seemed to improve my CIPN.

Chemobrain  and Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy defined

Chemobrain (also known as chemo fog or chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment) and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) are two distinct side effects associated with cancer treatment, but they can share some overlapping symptoms. Here’s a brief overview of each:

  1. Chemobrain:
    • Symptoms: Chemobrain refers to cognitive changes that some cancer patients may experience during or after chemotherapy. Common symptoms include memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, and a decrease in multitasking abilities.
    • Possible Causes: The exact cause of chemobrain is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs on the central nervous system.
  2. Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN):
    • Symptoms: CIPN is characterized by damage to the peripheral nerves, leading to symptoms such as tingling, numbness, burning sensations, and pain in the hands and feet. It can also affect coordination and balance.
    • Possible Causes: Chemotherapy drugs can damage the peripheral nerves, disrupting the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.

Based on the idea that these two side effects are linked, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that several of my long-term side effects are related to others. Meaning, for example, brain games can improve my memory which seems to improved my hearing. Exercise seems to improve most all of my side effects.

What does all this mean for the cancer survivor? While I can’t point to specific studies, I think the study below gives me reason to believe that many of the most common cancer side effects are linked. That is to say damage to our

  • nervous system
  • brain function
  • muscle coordination (which overlaps our nerves)

male all joints pain in blue

All overlap. Which means that evidence-based, non-conventional therapies also overlap. The acupuncture that I do weekly helps my chronic pain, of course, but influences all three of the above systems- nerve, brain and muscle systems.

The graphic to the left is about inflammation. It is this adverse event, common to both chemotherapy and radiation, which is a long-term issue for cancer survivors. Inflammation causes all sorts of health problems.

I believe that chemotherapy causes as many problems as it solves…

The research that I link to is a mainstay of my blog posts. And this post is thin on research. However my point is that non-conventional therapies such as

  • exercise
  • acupuncture 
  • nutrition
  • supplementation 

Can help several types of side effects at once. My example of acupuncture above is my best example.

Are you a cancer survivor? What side effects are you struggling with? Let me know- David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Tied to Compromised Executive Function

“Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is linked to a decline in executive and neuromuscular function, a new finding that may increase the risk for compromised mobility and fall risk…

Research Gap-

Characterized by numbness, tingling, pain, and motor impairment, CIPN affects up to 50% of all patients with cancer that is treated with taxane-, platinum-, or vinca alkaloid–based chemotherapy. The condition is among the leading dose-limiting toxicities, potentially increasing mortality risk…

“Chemotherapy can be neurotoxic, but few studies have linked neurotoxicity to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system,” McNeish said…

“Among older cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy, the presence of CIPN was independently associated with reduced executive function,”

A recent study by the same investigators showed a link between executive function and balance in cancer survivors (mean age, 65.6 years; 88% women) treated with chemotherapy…

Based on the current findings, the research suggests that “current clinical approaches to caring for this growing population [of cancer patients] should not assume that the well-known increased fall risk is solely related to CIPN…”

McNeish speculated that two potential hypotheses could explain the association between CIPN and reduced executive function in older cancer survivors.

“First, CIPN is associated with other conditions such as depression and anxiety which are associated with reduced executive function,” he said.

“The second is that cancer-related cognitive dysfunction and CIPN share pathogenic mechanisms of neuronal injury, inflammation, and advanced aging, and thus some patients are vulnerable to both central (cancer-related cognitive function) and peripheral (CIPN) neurotoxicity…”

Yoga for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Fall Risk: A Randomized Controlled Trial

“Results-  We randomly assigned 41 participants into yoga (n = 21) or usual care (n = 20). At week 8, mean NRS pain decreased by 1.95 points (95% confidence interval [CI] = -3.20 to -0.70) in yoga vs 0.65 (95% CI = -1.81 to 0.51) in usual care (P = .14). FACT/GOG-Ntx improved by 4.25 (95% CI = 2.29 to 6.20) in yoga vs 1.36 (95% CI = -0.47 to 3.19) in usual care (P = .035). Functional reach, an objective functional measure predicting the risk of falls, improved by 7.14 cm (95% CI = 3.68 to 10.59) in yoga and decreased by 1.65 cm (95% CI = -5.00 to 1.72) in usual care (P = .001). Four grade 1 adverse events were observed in the yoga arm.

Conclusion- Among breast and gynecological cancer survivors with moderate-to-severe CIPN, yoga was safe and showed promising efficacy in improving CIPN symptoms…”


Leave a Comment: