Your description of your husband's illness seems to suggest a Paraneoplastic syndrome.
Paraneoplastic syndromes are uncommon.Paraneoplastic syndromes may be defined as remote effects of a cancer unrelated to metastasis(non-metastatic systemic effects). Some of them are believed to be as a result of an auto-immune reaction(production of auto-antibodies).Others may be due to production of certain physiologically active molecules by the tumors(hormones,pro-hormones,other peptides,enzymes etc).
A number of Paraneoplastic syndromes have been described in relation to lympho-reticular malignancies.They may present before, during or following the treatment of a malignancy.
Paraneoplastic disorders may involve any part of the nervous system(central or peripheral - of which, peripheral neuropathies are among the most common.
Some of the paraneoplastic syndromes that need a mention are...
- Paraneoplastic Subacute Sensory Neuronopathy/paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis (PEM),
- Paraneoplastic Neuromyotonia,
- Paraneoplastic Demyelinating Neuropathies,
- Paraneoplastic Motor Neuron Disease,
- Paraneoplastic Vasculitic Neuropathy &
- Paraneoplastic Autonomic Insufficiency.
Your husband needs to be investigated to exclude the possibility of his complaints being due to one of these paraneoplastic syndromes(thorough neurologic exam, testing for 'Antineuronal Antibodies' etc). Your oncologist will be in a better position to guide you in this regard.
MB BS, MS, FRCS(Edinburgh)