Colorectal cancer survivor turns to clinical trial for neuropathy relief

Over the last year and a half, Shams Peerbhai has tried just about everything to cope with peripheral neuropathy, a cancer treatment side effect that commonly causes tingling, burning, weakness or numbness in the hands and/or feet. Now, the stage III colorectal cancer survivor is hoping a neuromodulation clinical trial eases his pain. “I've already been through so much, I'm willing to try anything that works,” he says. “I'm grateful to be cancer-free, but if there's any way I can get rid of the side effects, then that's great.” Starting colorectal cancer treatment In January 2017, a trip to a Houston-area emergency room revealed the diarrhea, vomiting and pain Shams had endured for several weeks was caused by a tennis ball-sized tumor in his colon. After an emergency surgery to remove his tumor, part of his colon and 22 lymph nodes, he came to MD Anderson to continue his colorectal cancer treatment. During his first visit, Shams learned that he’d developed an infection from fecal matter leaking from the site of his surgery. Imad Shureiqi, M.D., said he needed another surgery to stop the leakage and assess a spot on his liver. After that, he’d need chemotherapy just in case the cancer had spread beyond the one lymph node that tested positive for cancer. “I just put my faith in Dr. Shureiqi to do what he thought was best,” Shams recalls. In March 2017, Shams underwent a second partial colectomy with Nancy You, M.D. During the surgery, Yun Shin Chun-Segraves, M.D., determined that the tumor on his liver was benign. A month later, he began receiving a chemotherapy cocktail...