Survey looks at chemo side effects

Tuesday, 16th May, 2017

Cancer survivors can anonymously share their chemo experiences.

THE impact of the side effects of chemotherapy on the daily lives of Australian cancer survivors is the subject of a new survey.

"Undergoing treatment for cancer is a difficult experience in itself, but for many cancer survivors the impact continues long after treatment has ceased," said a spokesperson from the University of NSW research team.

"There are many possible long term side effects of treatment, including fatigue, pain, sleeping difficulties and memory problems.

"In particular, some forms of chemotherapy can cause peripheral neuropathy, a form of damage to the nerves in the hands and feet, leading to pain, tingling or numbness.

"Cancer survivors can be left with difficulty writing, picking up small objects or walking due to these symptoms, which can persist for years after finishing treatment."

In spite of the problems these symptoms can cause, the researchers say knowledge about chemotherapy side-effects is incomplete, and little information exists about their ongoing impact on the lives of those who have received chemotherapy.

And with continuing improvements in cancer treatments and rising survival rates, the number of cancer survivors who experience these side effects is expected to increase in coming years.

The researchers are seeking volunteers who have received neurotoxic chemotherapy (chemotherapy that can cause damage to the nerves) as a treatment for cancer to complete the online survey.

The survey is anonymous and will take about 35 minutes. A paper version of the survey is available on request.

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