Monday, December 11, 2017

Chemo Induced Peripheral Neuropathy - Participating in a Clinical Trial

Recently my friend, Lynn, shared with me what she had learned during the Foundation for Women's Cancer Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course held in October at the Summit Medical Group. One session on chemotherapy induce peripheral neuropathy was presented by Timothy Marshall, PhD a Professor of Physical Therapy at Kean University ( Union, N.J.). Knowing I have experienced neuropathy she thought I might be interested in a clinical trial he was running and she sent me his contact information.  I contacted Dr Marshall in November to learn more about his trial Chemotherapy-Induced-Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN), Gait and Fall Risk.

Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy can be numbness, tingling, pins and needles and pain in the toes and fingers. I experience this in my toes and have mentioned it in a few entries in this blog. Dr. Marshall sent me the Informed Consent form for the trial and we set a date to be evaluated in December. 

Last week I went to the Kean University Campus to take part in the trial. This was a relatively easy trial - as trials come -  to participate in. I shared with Dr. Marshall the chemotherapy drugs I had received, their dosage and the number of cycles I had during my initial and recurrence chemotherapy treatments. He asked about the level of exercise I currently take part in and measured my height and weight.

Then the actual evaluation started. The first test was to measure my hand grip strength.  I was asked to squeeze a handgrip dynanometer (3 times in each hand). 
Next after taking off my shoes and socks I was asked to sit on a table. and close and cover my eyes.  Dr. Marshall touched my feet and toes using a Jamar Microfilament - a very thin bendable wire, to assess sensation in my feet.   I was told to respond when I could feel the filament touch various parts of my foot. 

After putting my shoes and socks back on, a BTS G-Walk system was fitted to my waist. The BTS G-Walk system is a wireless tri- axial accelerometer. An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that measures acceleration forces. The system included EMGS placed on both my calves front and back. Electromyography (EMG) is a way to assess how well the muscles are working while I walk. I walked from one side of the room to the other a few times, all the time the Walk system was gathering data.  Lastly, I was asked to perform a ‘Timed-up and-Go' test, in which I had to stand up from a chair, walk about 9 feet, turn around and walk back to the chair and sit back down; this assessed fall risk. 

And in one hour the trial tests were complete.

I enjoyed talking to Dr. Marshall about his research including this study published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Practice Chemotherapy-Induced-Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN), Gait and Fall Risk in older adults following cancer treatment. 

This trial is currently recruiting so if you are a physician and would like to refer a patient who is experiencing the impact of CIPN or a cancer patient/ survivor who continues to experience CIPN years after treatment or is experiencing CIPN while undergoing treatment, feel free to contact Dr. Marshall at or call 908-737-6177. 

Thank you Dr. Marshall for doing research crucial to improving the survivorship of cancer patients. 

Every Day is a Blessing! 

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