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    What causes numbness in both feet while treating colon cancer?

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Posted on Tue, 31 May 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: I have numbness in both feet which has progressed over several years. Is this a problem that may be serious or should I just ignore it? I am currently dealing with colon cancer, but do not think it is related. I have had numerous blood test and my Doctor ha access to the results.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 43 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Possible peripheral neuropathy.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

That description of numbness in both feet is compatible with the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, damage of the peripheral nerves which usually has a preference for the lower limbs like in your case. In terms of whether you should be worried, it doesn't represent an emergency, an immediate threat, but should be paid attention in order to find the cause and address it if possible.

Now of course the diagnosis should be confirmed first. That is done first by a neurological exam which can evidence signs like lowered reflexes, muscle weakness or atrophy etc. If the exam arrives at the same suspicion the preferred diagnostic test is an ENMG (nerve conduction studies and electromyography) an exam which studies nerve function.

Assuming the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is confirmed the cause must be investigated. It can have many different causes such as diabetes, alcohol, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic or endocrine alterations, exposure to toxins (including some chemotherapy drugs if you've had chemio in your case) etc. So I do not know what tests you've had already, but several tests are needed like blood sugar, HbA1c, liver and kidney function, thyroid function, electrolytes, vitamin B12 level, creatine kinase just to name the most common ones. If a cause is found it should be addressed in order to avoid further damage progression. Frustratingly enough though there is a percentage a cases where cause may be hard to find.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 4 hours later
Your reply makes sense to me. Thank you for your advise.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
You're welcome.

Detailed Answer:
I hope things will work out for the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

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