Chemo Brain - Part 1

What is Chemo Brain?

Chemo brain is a term commonly used by cancer survivors to describe the thinking and memory problems that often occur with cancer and subsequent treatment. This condition may also be termed chemo fog, chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction. Many of these patients also report ongoing problems with sleep, fatigue, and anxiety and/or depression. Needless to say, these problems can be a frustrating and debilitating side effect of cancer and its treatment.

Signs and symptoms of chemo brain may include:

  • Being unusually disorganized
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Difficulty learning new skills
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of mental fogginess
  • Short attention span
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks
  • Trouble with verbal memory, such as remembering a conversation
  • Trouble with visual memory, such as recalling an image or list of words

Symptoms are not related solely to chemotherapy. Approximately one-third of cancer patients show signs of cognitive dysfunction prior to beginning systemic anti-cancer treatments. During the course of systemic anti-cancer treatments, this number climbs to almost two-thirds. Some of these patients recover when treatments are finished, but for a great number of cancer patients, changes in cognitive function persist.

Chemo Brain is Area of Increasing Attention & Research!

Before 2000, it was widely believed that chemotherapy agents could not cross the blood-brain barrier, and therefore, could not be related to the cognitive issues regularly reported by cancer patients to their doctors. However, research over the past decade has concluded that these treatments can adversely affect cognitive symptoms, and that they are all-too-common for patients undergoing treatment.

At the 2014 annual meeting of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), cognitive dysfunction was the subject of an oral presentation, reflecting its growing importance in oncology. “It is an area of intense research,” stated Elizabeth Kvale, MD, medical director of the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “It is anticipated our understanding will expand substantially.”

The International Cognition and Cancer Task Force was created to advance the understanding of the impact of cancer and cancer-related treatment on cognitive and behavioral functioning in adults with non-central nervous system cancers. This group is dedicated to studying the different factors that play a role in cognitive dysfunction with cancer patients.

Brain Changers Can Help!

Anyone who has battled cancer knows first-hand the emotional and mental havoc this disease can wreak. Many cancer survivors struggle with cognitive issues related to the disease and anti-cancer treatment. Research has shown that neurofeedback can help reverse symptoms cogntive symptoms to bring clients back to the cognitive functioning they had before cancer!

We want to help you regain your mental stamina and strength. Therefore, Brain Changers offers a 20% discount to cancer survivors on all neurofeedback and counseling services.

Give us a call today! Let us walk with you on the path to restored mental and emotional health! 409-300-3113