Paraneoplastic syndromes are a variety of syndromes that affect the way the immune system works in the body. Although rare, the syndromes have a profound effect on the human body. The causes for paraneoplastic syndromes are the same, but he way that they manipulate and use the body is very different.
What are they? Paraneoplastic syndromes are syndromes that occur when cancer is introduced into the body. They are caused by an immune response to a cancer cell, or by a chemical that is excreted by a cancer or tumor. The most common types of cancer that cause paraneoplastic syndromes are ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer. There is also some research that says the syndromes are more likely in males than in females, although this does not correlate well with the cancers that seem to cause the condition.
What do they do? There are two possible effects that can come from a paraneoplastic syndrome. One is a degenerative effect. It can attack neurological cells, which causes a degradation of the nervous system. This usually happens to the spinal cord, which sends all messages from the body to the brain. Sometimes, T-Cells can attack the cancer itself, but this is not as likely.
What is the treatment? The most common type of medical treatment for paraneoplastic syndrome is to get rid of the underlying cause; the cancer. When the cancer is treated, the body will usually stop producing the antibodies that cause the syndrome. Another option is to slow the degenerative effects, although treatment for the cancer may still be needed.