Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Tania Shearon, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, C-IAYT

Second Advisor

Aaron Bonsall, PhD, OTR/L


In the past four decades, there have been significant improvements in early cancer detection and efficacy of cancer treatments, resulting in a growing number of cancer survivors. People diagnosed with cancer are now living longer than ever before; while lifespan after cancer is increasing, cancer survivors are experiencing health and functional challenges due to the persistent effects of curative therapy (Rowland et al., 2018). One of these effects includes chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Approximately 70% of patients receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy experience CIPN, an uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensation in the hands and feet (Seretny et al., 2014). The likelihood of developing CIPN is expected to rise due to advancements in diagnostics and treatment.

CIPN is a common side effect from neurotoxic chemotherapeutic agents, including platinum compounds, vinca alkaloids, and taxanes, that doctors often overlook (Grisold et al., 2012). Additionally, there is a lack of referral to occupational therapy (OT) services for patients who are having difficulty with functional activities (Knoerl et al., 2019; Pergolotti et al., 2016). Symptoms and impairments due to CIPN can adversely affect functioning and well-being, leading to dependence, cancer treatment dose reductions, and decreased quality of life (Stubblefield et al., 2009). Although OT has the opportunity to make a significant difference in the life of a person living with CIPN, there are no clear or consistent guidelines in the literature regarding functional screening and assessment of symptoms and impairments, nor for rehabilitation management. The lack of guidelines results in inadequate support and care for these individuals. In order to improve quality of care and access to rehabilitation services, comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for CIPN rehabilitation is essential. This literature 5 review aims to identify best evidence for OT rehabilitation in order to develop comprehensive CIPN rehabilitation guidelines.