Neurological complications of systemic cancer.
Neurological complications of systemic cancer-those arising outside the nervous system-can be distressing, disabling, and sometimes fatal. Diagnosis is often difficult because different neurological disorders may present with similar signs and symptoms. Furthermore, comorbid neurological illnesses, common in elderly patients with cancer, can complicate diagnosis. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment can improve neurological symptoms and can substantially enhance a patient's quality of life. We approach the problem of neurological complications of systemic cancer as would a neurologist: first by identifying the anatomical area or areas that are affected (ie, brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve), then by evaluating the diagnostic approach, considering the symptoms and signs and including appropriate laboratory tests, and finally, by recommending treatment. We focus on disorders that are difficult to diagnose, need neurological consultation, and for which effective treatments exist.
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