Chemo Brain can Persist

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

JANUARY 27, 2017

Earlier this week, I shared a very useful article from Triage Cancer about chemo brain. It included some practical suggestions of how to manage this problem. Today's offering is related, but focuses on the possible longterm condition

As I wrote earlier, most people recover their baseline cognitive functioning fairly soon, but, unfortunately, that is not universally true. From comes this information. Note that it is not breast cancer specific.

Chemo Brain Can Last for Months After Treatment Ends

Many women who get chemotherapy to treat breast cancer say they have problems remembering, thinking, and concentrating during and after treatment. These problems are commonly called “chemo brain” or “chemo fog” -- doctors call these issues “cognitive impairment” or “cognitive problems.” Some women may have trouble with:
learning new tasks
remembering names
paying attention and concentrating
finding the right words
organizing thoughts
remembering where things are (keys, glasses, etc.)
A study has found that chemo brain is a substantial problem for as long as 6 months after treatment is completed for many women.
The research was published online on Dec. 27, 2016 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read “Cognitive Complaints in Survivors of Breast Cancer After Chemotherapy Compared With Age-Matched Controls: An Analysis From a Nationwide, Multicenter, Prospective Longitudinal Study.”

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Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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