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Coping Methods For Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Paraneoplastic syndrome is stimulated through tumor developed in parts of the body other than the nervous system but generates antigens typical of the nervous system. Therefore, the immune response directed against the tumor to prevent its growth also destroys nerve tissues. It may affect any area of your nervous system. Sometimes only a part is affected while multiple parts may get affected simultaneously1.

Recent developments in paraneoplastic syndrome management enable new antineuronal antibody detection, enhanced characterization of the known and newly discovered syndromes, and using PET and CT for early detection of tumors related to them1.

Coping Methods For Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Many cancer patients gain from resources and education to enhance their coping skills. You can talk to the members of your medical care team to clarify any doubt and any question you may have regarding paraneoplastic syndrome. They will provide you with the right advice. Gaining more knowledge on the disease and being aware of the condition will help you cope with the situation better and you will be able to take part in making the right care for you2,3.

Support groups may bring you into contact with other paraneoplastic syndrome patients with similar difficulties and challenges you are experiencing. You can always search for a better support group if you have any doubt about the quality and efficiency of the one you are currently seeking help from2.

Have An Appointment With The Doctor At The Earliest

Most individuals having paraneoplastic syndrome suffer from neurological issues much before they have any cancer indication or diagnosis of cancer. Thus, it is more likely that you will first go to your doctor providing primary care after experiencing the initial symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to oncologists or neurologists after assessing your conditions.

As you may have limited time with the doctor, it is better to prepare a list of issues before the visit. List the questions from most significant to the least significant ones. Some fundamental questions related to cancer may also be included.

Management Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Paraneoplastic syndrome treatment and management include treating the malignancy and, in a few instances, immune response suppression that causes your symptoms and signs2,3. Treatment is usually based on the particular paraneoplastic syndrome type and may vary from patient to patient. Some of the common coping methods and treatments involve are3:


Besides chemotherapeutic medicines to combat paraneoplastic syndrome, your physician may prescribe some additional medicines to prevent the immune system to attack your nervous systems. These paraneoplastic syndrome medications include Corticosteroids and Immunosuppressants. The later slows down the white blood cell production that is fighting against the cancer cells (and also attacking the nervous system)4. The prolonged use of Corticosteroids has some serious side effects such as high cholesterol, high BP, type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Anti-seizure drugs and medicines to improve transmission from nerve to muscle may also be used4.

Other Therapies

Use of Intravenous immunoglobulin: Immunoglobulins having healthy antibodies taken from blood donors are used in high doses to accelerate the elimination of harmful antibodies (damaging the nervous system) from your blood5.

Plasmapheresis: In this process, your blood plasma containing the damaging antibodies are separated from the blood cells. The plasma is discarded and replaced with other fluids. The blood cells are returned back to your body with this fluid.

Physical and speech therapies: These therapies may be useful in managing disabilities associated with Paraneoplastic syndrome. The physical therapies will help you regain parts of the lost muscle strength and function. The speech therapy is useful to cope with slurry speech and difficulty in swallowing1,5.


The prevalence of malignancy has grown over the years with patients surviving longer. This increases the probability of paraneoplastic syndrome to affect cancer patients more than ever before. The clinical course, presentation, and cancer treatment are affected by these syndromes. Recent medical developments have advanced paraneoplastic syndrome insight, diagnosis, and therapy. The capacity to identify and manage paraneoplastic syndromes can have a significant impact on clinical outputs, extending from early diagnosis of cancer for enhancement of the quality of life, to improve treatment directed to the cancer cells.


  1. Pelosof LC, Gerber DE. Paraneoplastic syndromes: an approach to diagnosis and treatment. Paper presented at: Mayo Clinic Proceedings2010.
  2. Vedeler C, Antoine J, Giometto B, et al. Management of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes: report of an EFNS Task Force. European journal of neurology. 2006;13(7):682-690.
  3. De Beukelaar JW, Smitt PAS. Managing paraneoplastic neurological disorders. The oncologist. 2006;11(3):292-305.
  4. Lien Y-HH, Lai L-W. Pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of paraneoplastic glomerulonephritis. Nature Reviews Nephrology. 2011;7(2):85.
  5. Graus F, Dalmau J. Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes: diagnosis and treatment. Current opinion in neurology. 2007;20(6):732-737.

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 6, 2021

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