A group of rare disorders that are caused by an abnormal immune system response to a cancerous tumour ``neoplasm’’ is known as Paraneoplastic syndromes. The Paraneoplastic syndromes take place when the cancer-fighting antibodies or the white blood cells attack the normal cells in the nervous system by mistake.
These conditions are most common in middle-aged to older people and can be most commonly found in individuals who have lung, ovarian, lymphatic or breast cancer. The neurologic symptoms usually develop over a period of days to weeks and usually occur prior to the tumour being discovered.
The symptoms caused include difficulty in walking or swallowing, loss of muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, slurred speech, memory loss, vision problems, sleep problems, dementia, seizures, sensory loss in the limbs and vertigo or dizziness. The Paraneoplastic syndromes include Lamber-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, stiff-person syndrome, encephalomyelitis, myasthenia gravis, cerebellar degeneration, limbic or brainstem encephalitis nueromyotonia, opsoclonus and sensory nuropathy.
No cure for paraneoplastic syndromes have been found. No treatments have been established to stop the progressive neurological damage. Usually the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis determines the outcome.
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