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Sarah Harding: Dr Hilary outlines breast cancer symptoms

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The war on cancer is proving arduous in light of recent Covid disruptions, with staff shortages and delayed referrals at the root of the issue. Experts remain confident, however, that broadening awareness of the warning signs could help pick up cases early. Occasionally, the disease induces nerve damage, causing numbness in the fingers and toes.

Cancer is the result of a rapid proliferation of damaged DNA cells, that conglomerate to form malignant tumours.

Part of the difficulty in treating the disease is that the spread of the disease is notoriously difficult to tame.

By the time it’s picked up, cancer has often spread to neighbouring organs or limbs.

This fast-spreading characteristic can produce a multitude of complications, including damage to the nerves.

READ MORE: Cancer symptoms: Four ‘bodily sensations’ reported in cancer patients prior to diagnosis

Macmillan explains: “Cancer can cause peripheral neuropathy in one area of the body if the tumour is growing close to a nerve and pressed on it.

“Surgery may damage nerves and cause symptoms in the affected area. For example, serevent diskhaler how to use breast cancer surgery may cause numbness or tingling and pain in the arm.

“In some types of cancer, the body may make substances that damage peripheral nerves.

“This is called paraneoplastic syndrome. It may happen in people with lung, myeloma, or lymphoma.”

The occurrence of other symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, lumps, or eating problems, may offer clues as to whether tingling in the extremities is caused by cancer.

The group of disorders that characterise para-neoplastic syndromes results from cancer-fighting agents of the immune system attacking parts of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Symptoms vary depending on which part of the nervous system is affected, but sufferers can expect problems with muscle movement, coordination, sensory perception, memory and thinking skills.

In some cases, treating cancer can reverse injury to the nerves, but in severe cases, the condition can be difficult to reverse.

Fortunately, other interventions have been shown to minimise damage and prevent it for furthering, helping improve the quality of life of sufferers.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy can have a profound impact as nerves carrying messages to and from the brain become affected.

In fact, tingling and numbness in the tips of the feet are often just the tip of the iceberg of neuropathy symptoms.

Sometimes other bodily functions, such as digestion, urination and circulation, are affected by the condition.

In extreme cases, damage to the nerve ending can become irreversible and cause the limb to become infected.

This sets the stage for tissue death – known as gangrene – which may require amputation of the affected limb.

Avoiding cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy is no simple task, but many other conditions can contribute to the condition.

Hopkins Medicine explains: “You can lessen your risk for many of these conditions by avoiding alcohol, correcting vitamin deficiencies, eating a healthy diet, losing weight, avoiding toxins and exercising regularly.”

In terms of diet, health bodies are many to reinstate the importance of eating sufficient amounts of B12.

The nutrient can be acquired through animal-based products such as eggs, fish, meat and poultry, as well as other foods fortified with B12.

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