Cancer treatment 'can lead to nerve damage'

A common cancer treatment used to remedy the advanced stages of colorectal cancer has been demonstrated to have adverse side effects.

Johns Hopkins University researchers found that oxaliplatin - a drug that has been successful in prolonging the life of colorectal cancer patients - affects nerve function, leading to dehabilitating neurological symptoms.

Studying eight advanced colorectal cancer patients, the scientists found the platinum-based drug causes the axons of the nerve cells to degenerate over time.

"This drug has rapidly become the standard of care for people with advanced colon cancer, but we really knew little about how oxaliplatin affects nerves over time," said study leader Michael Polydefkis.

Doctors now hope to conduct further research to find possible ways of mitigating this side effect.

Cancer Research UK states that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and ten-year survival rates are now double what they were in the 1970s.

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