Background: Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is a common long-term effect of cancer treatment, but no study has reported results across a wide range of survivors. This study addresses that gap in the literature.
Methods: Included in analyses were 3,061 post-treatment adult cancer survivors who completed the 2010 LIVESTRONG survey including items related to current and past PN, sociodemographics, cancer diagnosis and treatment. Respondents were excluded if they had metastatic/recurrent cancer or more than one primary cancer. Bi-variate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with post-treatment PN.
Results: Participants were 49.1 (sd=11.8) years old and 4.8 (sd=5.4) years post-diagnosis. More than half were female (62.9%), married/partnered (70.6%), White (87.3%), college educated (52.9%), employed full-time (60.5%) and had health insurance (82.9 %). The most prevalent cancer types were: breast (29.9%), testicular (9.2%), and prostate (7.5%). Over half of participants received chemotherapy (57.9%) alone or in combination with radiation and/or surgery.
Post-treatment PN was reported by 33.7% of survivors (n=1031); prevalence was highest among colorectal (63.9%), lung (60.8%), and ovarian (57.5%) cancer survivors. In logistic regression the strongest independent (p<.05) predictors were: chemotherapy [z(1)=177.1]; type of cancer [z(16)=38.4]; time since diagnosis [z(1)=26.7]; history of neuropathy prior to cancer [z(1)=24.7]; employment status [z(4)=17.28]; and income [z(6)=16.0].
Conclusions: A history of chemotherapy, certain cancer types, and PN prior to cancer were associated with higher risk for post-treatment PN. Time since diagnosis, full-time employment and higher income were associated with lower risk. Additional research is needed to determine whether these sociodemographic factors are predictors or consequences of post-treatment PN.