Table of Contents
Chemotherapy Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 547932, 7 pages
Research Article

Self-Management of Oxaliplatin-Related Peripheral Neuropathy in Colorectal Cancer Survivors

1University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa, FL 33612, USA
2University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA
3Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA
4University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 23 July 2013

Academic Editor: Umberto Tirelli

Copyright © 2013 Cindy Tofthagen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to evaluate medications that cancer survivors with oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy take to control neuropathic symptom, and to explore self-management techniques used at home to provide temporary relief of painful neuropathy. This was a mixed methods, descriptive, cross-sectional study using self-reported data from colorectal cancer survivors previously treated with oxaliplatin. We analyzed demographic and medication data obtained from participants, along with written comments from an open-ended question regarding methods participants had tried to self-manage symptoms of neuropathy. Results. Twenty-nine percent of the sample reported taking some type of nutritional supplement with potential neuroprotective qualities. Opioids were being taken by 10% of the sample, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and over-the-counter medications were taken by 15% of participants. Twelve percent of participants were taking antidepressants and 10% were taking anticonvulsants, primarily gabapentin. Recurrent themes for nonpharmacologic treatment included avoiding the cold/keeping warm, keeping moving, massaging or rubbing the affected area, and living with it. Conclusions. Patients treated with oxaliplatin for colorectal cancer utilize a variety of traditional pharmacologic agents and nutritional supplements in an effort to self-manage neuropathic symptoms. Patients also employ a variety of home-based therapies to provide temporary relief of peripheral neuropathy symptoms.