Though doctors and researchers are continually working to refine cancer treatments, therapies to treat the disease can still have side effects. Chemotherapy is often used as a strategy to kill cancer cells, but it can also affect the nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin, and internal organs. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy.
Disorders of peripheral nerves are frequent complications of chemotherapy and certain other drug therapies. As more and more effective therapies for cancer are found and patients are living longer, peripheral neuropathy complications of chemotherapy are increasing in prevalence. Chemotherapy can cause degeneration of peripheral sensory and motor nerves and cause patients to present with sensory disturbances, balance problems or weakness.