Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemo finished at the end of December - Oxypilatin and Capcitabine (spellings may leave something to be desired!).  I am experiencing PN for which GP has prescribed Gabapentin, current dose is 3 x 100mg daily which is having little to no effect.  I'm participating in an exercise programme via Southampton University and my personal trainer has suggested acupuncture might help.  Do you have any information about this?  Is it something that can be accessed via NHS?  Is there anything else I should/could consider?  My hands in particular are troubling me.

  • Hi SFUC

    Thanks for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support and welcome to the online community.

    I’m sorry to read that you’ve been experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy following chemotherapy last year. For many, it can be debilitating and frustrating.

    There are guidelines in place around treatment that doctors will follow to get the best treatment for you. It is important to note that if the gabapentin is not relieving your symptoms that you go back to the doctor to report this and be reassessed.

    Keeping a pain diary may be helpful to document your pain and how just effective any analgesia is that you are using.

    For some people acupuncture can help alleviate some of the symptoms that you have.

    It may be worthwhile asking your GP or Consultant if this can be accessed within the local NHS services, in your area. This link can help you locate a local registered practitioner if you wish to look into sourcing acupuncture privately.

    There are other things you can do to prevent further nerve damage, including protecting your hands and feet in the following ways:

    • Keep them warm by wearing gloves and socks in cold weather.
    • Wear gloves when working with your hands – for example, when gardening or washing up.
    • Use potholders and take care to avoid burning your hands when cooking.
    • Wear well-fitting shoes or boots.
    • Avoid walking around barefoot and check your feet often for any problems.
    • Test the temperature of water with your elbow to make sure it isn’t too hot before baths, showers or doing the washing-up. Turn the temperature control (thermostat) to a lower setting for hot water or have a temperature control fitted.

    As well as the online support at Macmillan, Maggie’s also offer some emotional advice and online courses that can help anyone affected with cancer.

    Our number is 0808 808 0000 and we are open 7 days a week from 8am till 8pm.

    Please feel free to get back in touch if we can help with anything else.

    Best wishes


    Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist