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Paraneoplastic Syndromes

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jul 2021| Content last modified Jul 2021
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What is a paraneoplastic syndrome?

A neoplasm is an abnormal growth in your body that may be cancerous. If something is “neoplastic,” it has to do with the neoplasm. A paraneoplastic syndrome is a set of symptoms that are caused by a cancer. The symptoms happen in a different area of your body from your cancer.

Most people with cancer don’t get a paraneoplastic syndrome.

What are the symptoms of paraneoplastic syndromes?

General symptoms

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

Skin symptoms

  • Itching

  • Skin flushing or blushing, causing your face, neck, or upper chest to become warm and red

  • You may get noncancerous skin bumps or shingles (a painful rash of fluid-filled blisters caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox)

Neurologic (brain, spinal cord, and nerve) symptoms

  • Weakness or loss of strength

  • Loss of feeling

  • Slower reflexes

  • Trouble using different parts of your body the way you want, such as your arms or legs

  • Trouble speaking

  • Dizziness

  • Double vision (when you see 2 of the same object) or being unable to control your eye movements

The cancer can cause these symptoms without pushing on your nerves or spinal cord.

Endocrine (hormone system) symptoms

  • Weakness

  • Weight gain

  • High blood pressure or heart valve problems

  • Confusion

  • Kidney problems

  • Red, warm skin

  • Wheezing

  • Diarrhea

Other symptoms

  • Muscle swelling that causes weakness and soreness

  • Painful swelling of your joints that may change the shape of your fingers and toes

  • Changes to your blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets)

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Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety
An important part of normal development is an infant’s growing attachment to its parents. As this bond strengthens, the infant may express fear or anxiety when the parents leave. This “separation anxiety” typically begins at around 8 months of age and resolves at around 24 months of age. Which of the following is the normal and expected infant behavior in reaction to a parent leaving the room during the time period of separation anxiety?
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