What is the Diagnosis of Paraneoplastic Syndrome?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 16, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Paraneoplastic syndromes occur in people with cancer.
  • The symptoms of paraneoplastic syndromes develop quickly.
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes are not directly caused by cancer cells.
  • Neurological examinations will be conducted to diagnose condition.

What are Paraneoplastic Syndromes?

A group of rare disorders of the nervous system that develop in some people who have cancer are known as paraneoplastic syndromes. Paraneolastic syndromes of the nervous system are the most common reported paraneoplasic syndromes but these syndromes can affect other organ systems including hormone, skin, blood and joints.

Diagnosis of Paraneoplastic Syndromes

What are the Symptoms of Paraneoplastic Syndromes?

The signs and symptoms of paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system commonly develop relatively quickly, often over days to week. The symptoms vary depending on the body part that is being injured. The signs may include:

  • Difficulty in walking
  • Problems with maintaining balance
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Loss of muscle tone or weakness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss and other cognitive impairments
  • Vision problems
  • Disturbances with sleep
  • Seizures
  • Sensory disturbances

Paraneoplastic Syndromes


What are the Causes of Paraneoplastic Syndromes?

The paraneoplastic syndromes are not caused by cancer cells directly disturbing the nerve function or by other complications like infections or treatment side effects. But they occur with cancer as a result of the activation of your immune system. The researchers believe that paraneoplastic syndromes are caused by cancer-fighting abilities of the immune system, particularly antibodies and some white blood cells known as T cells.

Diagnosis for Paraneoplastic Syndromes

To diagnose the problem a general and neurological examination will be conducted by a doctor or neurologist. Tests will be conducted to check the following:

  • Reflexes
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle tone
  • Sense of touch
  • Vision and hearing
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Mental status
  • Mood

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Paraneoplastic Syndromes Diagnosis and Prognosis.

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