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Paraneoplastic syndromes

Paraneoplastic syndrome is a disorder that accompanies tumors and may include symptoms of cerebellar ataxia. In this case, the body produces an immune response against the cancer cells. These antibodies may damage the cerebellum or other nervous system tissues, causing cerebellar ataxia. Paraneoplastic syndrome may occur rather rapidly, within a few days or few weeks, and ataxia may indeed be the first symptom of cancer. In this case, ataxia of rapid onset can be considered an important signal for hidden cancer. Diagnosis of paraneoplastic syndrome is made by measuring known antibodies in the blood in patients with cerebellar ataxia of short duration. Patients with ataxia for several years are unlikely to have cancer. The treatment is directed towards removing the cancer or treating it with chemotherapy. Corticosteroids can be used to reduce the abnormal immune response.

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