ChemoBrain or ChemoFog
This is a disheartening article from the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management about the long term effects of chemobrain--that is the possible cognitive implications of receiving chemotherapy. Like everything else, there is huge variability in this issue, and I have known very few people who felt that they were truly damaged or disadvantaged intellectually. For most of us, it is worst during active treatment when it is easy to understand a drug fog. And then, over time, there may be moments of "why did I come into this room?" or trouble with names or, sometimes, word finding. We manage, and it is impossible to tease out how it might be different with normal aging (and, especially for women, with diminished estrogen).
Anyway, here is the summary and then a link to read more:
Either Called "Chemobrain" or "Chemofog," the
Long-Term Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive
Decline in Cancer Survivors Is Real
Andreas A. Argyriou, MD, PhDac, Konstantinos Assimakopoulos, MD,
PhDb, Gregoris Iconomou, PhDc, Fotini Giannakopoulou, MDc,
Haralabos P. Kalofonos, MD, PhDc
Accepted 21 April 2010. published online 14 September 2010.
In recent years, there is growing evidence in the medical literature
to support an association between administration of commonly
used chemotherapeutic agents and an increased risk for cognitive
We herein critically summarize data relating to the
pathophysiological mechanisms by which chemotherapy may
induce cognitive impairment in patients surviving from solid tumors.
The clinical and epidemiological characteristics and the proposed
management strategies to counter chemotherapy-induced cognitive
impairment (CICI) also are presented.
References for this review were identified by searches of PubMed
from 1995 until December 2009 with related terms.
Both the pathogenetic mechanisms and the overall clinical nature
of CICI remain vaguely defined. Findings indicate that CICI is a
relatively common event that, in most of the cases, remains
underdiagnosed, thereby adversely affecting the quality of life of
patients with cancer. Effective pharmacological interventions toward
the symptomatic or prophylactic management of CICI also are
Either called "chemobrain" or "chemofog," the long-term CICI in
cancer survivors is real. The need for multidisciplinary care
interventions toward a timely diagnosis and management of CICI is