A qualitative evaluation of the oncologists', neurologists', and pain specialists' views on the management and care of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in The Netherlands

F G A M van Haren, M A H Steegers, K C P Vissers, S A S van den Heuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: In treating cancer, different chemotherapy regimens cause chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Despite recent international guidelines, a gold standard for diagnosis, treatment, and care is lacking. To identify the current clinical practice and the physicians' point of view and ideas for improvement, we evaluated CIPN care by interviewing different specialists involved.

METHODS: We performed semi-structured, audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded interviews with a purposive sample of oncologists, pain specialists, and neurologists involved in CIPN patients' care. Data is analyzed by a constant comparative method for content analysis, using ATLAS.ti software. Codes, categories, and themes are extracted, generating common denominators and conclusions.

RESULTS: With oncologists, pain specialists, and neurologists, nine, nine, and eight interviews were taken respectively (including three, two, and two interviews after thematic saturation occurred). While useful preventive measures and predictors are lacking, patient education (e.g., on symptoms and timely reporting) is deemed pivotal, as is low-threshold screening (e.g., anamnesis and questionnaires). Diagnosis focusses on a temporal relationship to chemotherapy, with adjuvant testing (e.g., EMG) used in severe or atypical cases. Symptomatic antineuropathic and topical medication are often prescribed, but personalized and multidimensional care based on individual symptoms and preferences is highly valued. The limited efficacy of existing treatments, and the lack of standardized protocols, interdisciplinary coordination, and awareness among healthcare providers pose significant challenges.

CONCLUSION: Besides the obvious need for better therapeutic options, and multidisciplinary exploration of patients' perspectives, a structured and collaborative approach towards diagnosis, treatment, referral, and follow-up, nurtured by improving knowledge and use of existing CIPN guidelines, could enhance care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number301
Pages (from-to)301
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • CIPN
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Patient care
  • Qualitative research
  • Standardizing care

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