After Chemo Treatment – Do You Have a Chemobrain?

Cancer & Chemo - from Neurology Advisor

Many people with cancers are treated differently, depending on where their cancer is found, what level the cancer is, and how the doctor decided to treat their client.  Overall, Chemotherapy, or Chemo, is the treatment of choice for most cancers.  However, a potential side effect of chemotherapy is the Chemo Brain Syndrome.  Chemo Brain is a nicer way of speaking of the Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive Impairment (CICI).

CICI usually lasts only a short period of time, but it could continue up to ten years after treatment stops.  Below are some symptoms associated with chemo brain, courtesy of Moffitt Cancer Center:

  • Memory issues and/or forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with concentrating
  • Attention span diminishes
  • Cannot remember basic words or details
  • General disorganization
  • Cannot multitask

While you may get scared, Chemo has significant beneficial effects against cancer.

There is an interesting interview with multiple doctors and researchers at Neurology Advisor, titled “Chemobrain: Experts Weigh in on Very Real — and Growing — Problem[GA1] .”  The interview discusses their current trials, as well as other research they will be commencing soon.  The best take away is to understand how they are thinking about CICI:

Patients should be prepared for this, as for any other potential late effect. I have heard from several cancer survivors that their clinicians ignored or denied the cognitive difficulties that they were experiencing — one said that his oncologist said he was “crazy.” That’s not helpful. If patients know what to expect and feel that their oncologist supports them, they will be better able to cope and more likely to stick to their treatment regimens.

From Dr. Todd Horowitz, program director in the Behavioral Research Program’s Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch, located in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Try to not get too overwhelmed if you are going through Chemo.  There are many ways to help your body get through it, such as:

  • Continue your exercise
  • Brain games to help your brain waves
  • Memory games, especially slightly different than your current method
  • Certain foods to help your brain
  • Friends for support

Read more methods to get your brain healthier, with links here on Brain Health Doctor: Brain Health.

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