Numb foot post chemo.


i have incurable breast cancer which has spread to the bones, but is under control with 3weekly treatment of herceptin/perjeta.    I had chemo for 6 months in 2018.   Numbness started about six months to 1year later and at first I was told it would improve.  However over the last few months it has become progressively worse, now up to my knee, and I am worrying I may fall.    Is there anything, e g. Massage, which would help alleviate these symptoms.?

  • Hi Ellisw1,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I am sorry to hear what a difficult time you have been having. This cant have been easy or comfortable for you. It’s only understandable you are worried, as the symptoms are now worsening, and you want to know what may be happening.

    Any new, increasing or worsening symptoms should always be reviewed and assessed by your oncology team or GP. This is important to do, even if this has been reviewed previously. Your symptoms will be taken seriously and it’s important that you report this today.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to assess or comment on what exactly could be causing this from an email alone. Your symptoms would need to be assessed by a doctor, most likely in person. Your oncology team would be best placed to assess this more appropriately.

    Pain, numbness and weakness can at times be warning symptoms that something more serious could be going on, therefore these should not be ignored. This may be particularly more concerning as you have described having spreading numbness and altered sensation to your lower leg. Without trying to worry you, patients can sometimes develop a rare condition called a Spinal Cord Compression (SCC) if cancer cells have possibly moved to the spine.

    Although the symptoms you describe can be due to other things it’s important to make sure it’s not being caused by this as it can cause serious problems if left untreated. Conditions such as peripheral neuropathy can develop with certain cancer treatments. It is always better to have this checked out to give you peace of mind and an understanding, as to what may be happening. Speaking over your symptoms with your oncology team would be the best and safest way to have your symptoms assessed. They are most experienced at assessing these particular symptoms.

    It’s important to get medical advice today, to make sure your consultant or named specialist nurse are aware of these worsening symptoms. They could arrange for any tests that may be needed to understand your symptoms better, if they feel this is needed.

    Your team would may want to review you in person and may wish to obtain a neurological assessment and possibly an MRI, to exclude the possibility of a SCC. I am wondering if you have had any recent appointments to the GP or with your oncology team and if anyone has considered any of these assessments? These would be the main ways to assess your symptoms and gage what may be happening.

    If at all you are worried or have any worsening symptoms or loss of power, you should contact 999 immediately.

    Best wishes


    Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse Specialist