The Post-Chemotherapy Cancer Patient – A Growing Patient Population

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying.

The questions, the fear and the concept of facing their own mortality are enough to paralyze even the strongest individual.

In the not so distant past, the standard was surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation or some combination of the three and that was it.

Then the patient played the waiting game to see what, if anything, worked.

What people didn’t realize was that the end of a course of chemotherapy was not the end of the healing process. They would be dealing with the lasting effects of chemotherapy long after their hair returned and the nausea ended.

And one of those lasting effects is post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy.

Fortunately for the chiropractic community, cancer patients are quickly learning that chiropractic, nutrition and often the correct forms nerve stimulation when combined in the hands of a skilled chiropractor can help alleviate the symptoms of their post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy.

The post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient is becoming an enlightened consumer of complementary therapies that go beyond traditional medications and standard medical treatments.

A new-enlightened approach to treating their peripheral neuropathy symptoms gives the chiropractic community an ever-expanding patient population to serve. Treating these patients who have already walked through an experience most people live in fear of can be incredibly rewarding.

To get them in your office though, you need to show them exactly how your chiropractic and specialty care can improve their quality of life. It’s not just about marketing the traditional chiropractic care that people associate with whiplash or sports injuries. It’s about educating the potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient on a three-pronged approach to their medical issues:

First, Chiropractic- It’s Not Just About Adjustments

Chances are that your potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients have never been treated by a chiropractor. They may think they know what a chiropractor does but they may not understand everything that chiropractic can do for managing their condition.

Traditionally, chiropractors have been associated with treatment of injuries and illnesses affecting the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. In educating the post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient, recognize that they can be dealing with gait problems, muscular weakness or even issues caused by radiation. The stress of dealing with any of these conditions cannot always be addressed by standard chiropractic techniques

Chiropractic by itself cannot prevent or cure cancer, but it can help the post-chemotherapy neuropathy patient deal with the symptoms and pain associated both with their cancer and their course of treatment. Often, by carefully mobilizing the spine and related tissues, we stimulate a healthier nervous system and that’s a basic building block for regaining their pre-cancer health and alleviating their nerve pain.

Nutrition

Chemotherapy and other cancer medications can wreck a patient’s digestive system. In the process of killing cancer cells, it can also damage healthy cells and that’s what brings on the side effects of chemotherapy. This can affect not only affect their ability to eat but also prevent the body from getting the nutrients it needs.

Talk to your post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients about their nutrition issues. They can be dealing with any number of symptoms ranging from nausea and loss of appetite to dry mouth and changes in their sense of taste and smell. Offering nutrition information and dietary planning services is another way to serve this patient population. Good nutrition will boost the immune system and let it do its job in fighting off illnesses brought on by chemotherapy.

Potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients may not realize that this is an area of their recovery you may help with. So, if you are trained in this specialty, make sure you include nutrition information in your patient education materials. Post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients need to make sure they’re getting nutrients to prevent or reverse nutritional deficiencies, lessen the side effects of treatment and improve their quality of life. Without appropriate, simultaneous nutrition, other treatment protocols have no chance of success.

Appropriate Nerve Stimulation

Once a course of treatment has been designed and a nutrition plan established, the final piece in the overall treatment of the post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient treatment plan is nerve stimulation.

There are some nerve stimulation techniques to help peripheral neuropathy patients.

But some are potentially harmful. Misapplication is dangerous. Learn the correct ways, and then educate your potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients on the options available to them.

Some patients may have adopted an attitude of “I went through chemotherapy and my cancer is gone. I shouldn’t complain about nerve pain. I should just be thankful to be alive”.

What they need to know is that they don’t always have to just live with sleeplessness, pain, and balance and walking issues secondary to their treatment. Your chiropractic practice, when specially trained and equipped can offer them hope for a more normal life without debilitating pain. Yes, they survived cancer but they can beat their post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy, too.

Precise combinations of chiropractic, nutrition and often nerve stimulation are showing great promise in helping post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients return to a pain free life, without the debilitating effects of neuropathy.

Serving this courageous patient population can be incredibly rewarding. But it is a subspecialty that takes some study and time to learn.

When you are ready, let them know you’re there to help them.