Neuropathy is a condition that occurs as a result of nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the peripheral nerves, is one type of neuropathy and an often unexpected complication of cancer treatment. Here are five things you should know:
1. What does “peripheral neuropathy” really mean?
Peripheral nervous system is the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord. Your hands and feet (and the rest of your body) have nerves that tell you where your extremities are in relation to your body, help regulate temperature, and signal pain. When you touch something hot, your peripheral nerves signal your central nervous system and your hand quickly pulls away.
Your peripheral nerves act like messengers between your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy refers to the damage done to the peripheral nervous system, which disrupts the messengers’ ability to carry information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. There are three different types of peripheral nerves that may be damaged by neuropathy: Sensory nerves, Motor nerves, and Autonomic nerves.