Cooling Mitts, Socks May Ease a Major Chemo Side Effect

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

News Picture: Cooling Mitts, Socks May Ease a Major Chemo Side EffectBy Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many cancer drugs can cause debilitating nerve damage as a side effect. however a modest study suggests that will simple cold wraps to the hands along with feet might prevent that will.

The side effect, known as peripheral neuropathy, damages nerves within the limbs. This particular often leads to pain, numbness along with tingling, along with difficulty with balance along with using the hands along with fingers.

There are treatments for peripheral neuropathy, according to the American Cancer Society. however there are no proven ways to prevent that will.

within the completely new study, researchers tested a simple tactic: having patients wear frozen gloves along with socks during chemotherapy.

With that will protection in place, patients were much less likely to develop symptoms of nerve damage, the study found.

Medical experts said there are reasons to be excited about the findings.

For one, the therapy is usually “easy along with safe,” said study leader Akiko Hanai, an occupational therapist at Kyoto University, in Japan.

Still, there are cautions, she said.

Besides its modest size, the study looked only at patients being treated with the drug paclitaxel (Taxol). that will’s not clear, Hanai said, whether cold therapy might have similar benefits for patients on some other cancer drugs.

along with the tactic is usually not one for people to try on their own. In This particular study, the frozen socks along with gloves were donned during chemo — with therapists standing by to make sure the cold was tolerable, Hanai said.

The findings are based on 36 women undergoing paclitaxel treatment for breast cancer. The researchers had each patient wear a frozen glove along with sock on the dominant side of her body during the chemo sessions, leaving the some other hand along with foot to serve as the “control.”

There was no fancy technology involved. The researchers used commercially available cold wraps marketed as Elasto-Gel, by the France-based Akromed. (The company did not fund the study, according to Hanai’s team.)

Overall, the investigators found, the simple 0-minute strategy substantially cut patients’ risk of neuropathy symptoms.

Just under 28 percent of patients developed numbness within the hand that will was covered by the frozen glove — while the unprotected hand was affected 81 percent of the time, the findings showed.

The difference was similar when that will came to numbness within the feet: Almost 64 percent of patients developed the problem within the unprotected foot, while 25 percent suffered numbness within the sock-clad foot.

along with in dexterity tests, the women showed a bigger treatment-related decline within the unprotected hand, versus the glove-protected one.

“The results of This particular study are very exciting,” said Dr. Dawn Hershman, who wrote an editorial published with the findings.

“If they are confirmed, This particular may be a low-cost along with low-risk option for patients,” said Hershman, who leads the breast cancer program at Columbia University Medical Center in completely new York City.

however, she said, the therapy still needs to be tested in larger, “randomized” studies — where patients are randomly assigned to receive cold therapy or not. Those types of trials are considered the gold standard in medicine.

Figuring out ways to prevent peripheral neuropathy is usually critical, Hershman said.

that will not only drains patients’ quality of life, she said, however can also cause them to stop treatment early.

Paclitaxel along with similar “taxane” drugs — like docetaxel along with cabazitaxel — are among the common causes of peripheral neuropathy, according to the American Cancer Society. So are “platinum” drugs, such as cisplatin along with carboplatin, along with so-called plant alkaloids, such as vinblastine along with vincristine.

Dr. Elizabeth Comen treats breast cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in completely new York City. She agreed that will more research is usually needed — to understand what “dose” of cold therapy is usually best, for example.

At the same time, Comen said, there’s little downside to the tactic.

“If a patient came to me wanting to try that will, I’d support that will,” she said. “I think This particular is usually something patients can discuss with their doctors right now. that will’s a reasonable option.”

If cold therapy does thwart peripheral neuropathy, that will’s not clear why, Hershman said.

Comen agreed that will the mechanism is usually unclear. however, she said, the approach is usually similar to the “cold caps” sometimes used to reduce hair loss coming from chemo. In theory, that will works by restricting blood flow to the scalp, which may limit the amount of chemo that will reaches hair follicles.

The study was published online Oct. 12 within the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Akiko Hanai, OTR, M.S., occupational therapist, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan; Dawn Hershman, M.D., leader, breast cancer program, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center, completely new York City; Elizabeth Comen, M.D., medical oncologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, completely new York City; Oct. 12, 2017, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online

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