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How Does Paraneoplastic Syndrome Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Paraneoplastic syndrome of the human nervous system refers to a group of various uncommon disorders, which develop in people suffering from cancer. The syndrome affects various organs or systems, such as skin or dermatologic system, hormone or endocrine system, blood or hematologic system and joints or rheumatologic system.
Paraneoplastic syndromes mainly take place when various types of cancer-fighting agents of one’s immune system attack different parts of the human brain, muscle, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Depending on the affected part of your nervous system, paraneoplastic syndromes cause problems with coordination and muscular movement, thinking skills or memory, sensory perception and sleep.

How Does Paraneoplastic Syndrome Affect The Body?

Signs and symptoms of the nervous systems paraneoplastic syndromes often develop at a relatively faster rate i.e. even within only a few days or weeks. These symptoms start in patients before they undergo with diagnose of tumor or cancer.(1)

  • Difficulty in walking or any other body movement
  • Difficulty in retaining physical balance
  • Loss of proper muscular coordination
  • Loss of muscular tone
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Reduction in ability to pick any object or in any other fine motor skills
  • Stuttering or slurred speech
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of memory
  • Cognitive or thinking impairment
  • Seizures
  • Sleeping difficulties or disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual involuntary body movements

What Triggers Paraneoplastic Syndrome?

Paraneoplastic syndromes do not cause directly from cancer cells responsible to disrupt the nerve functions, by the spread of cancer i.e. metastasis or any other complication, like side effects of any treatment or any type of infection. Rather, paraneoplastic syndromes take place with your cancer when your immune system becomes active.

Researchers perceive that the syndromes mainly take place because of cancer-fighting abilities of one’s immune system, especially antibodies as well as a specific category of white blood cells i.e. T cells. The agents of the immune system attack both normal cells and cancer cells of the individual’s nervous system instead of attacking only cancer cells and in turn, cause various types of neurological disorders.

In most of the cases, paraneoplastic syndromes occur in patients suffering from ovarian, breast and lung cancers. However, you may find a few other types of cancers responsible to produce symptoms related to the syndrome.

Along with this, paraneoplastic syndromes have close relations with varieties of age-related diseases, including those unable to deal with physical or environmental stress combined with the genetic type of pre-dispositions, increase in the oxygen free radicals, accumulation of various biomolecules in damaged form and many more.(1)


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 8, 2021

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