Chemobrain, Chemobrain, Chemobrain

Would you believe that as a radiation oncologist, I didn’t know what chemobrain was until after being diagnosed with breast cancer? I first started experiencing chemobrain when it was time to go back to work.

Chemobrain can be distressing, embarrassing, and unnerving.

But what is chemobrain? There are many ways a patient can experience chemobrain and it will differ for each individual. It comes in the form of memory loss or lapse and/or mental fogginess or cloudiness.

A few ways it could show up in your life are:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble focusing on different things
  • Not remembering details like names, dates, etc.
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Takes longer to do things than it used to because you are disorganized and can’t gather your thoughts.

Now, you may be wondering what causes chemobrain? Unfortunately, that is not an easy answer to give because there are many different things that can cause chemobrain and it doesn’t even have to happen in someone who’s had chemotherapy. Chemobrain can affect those who have had no treatment or before you even start treatment.

Chemobrain can be a result of any of these factors:

  • Treatment.
  • Radiation treatments you get to the brain.
  • Severe fatigue related to treatment.
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression related to treatment.
  • Infection.
  • Medication given to you during your treatment.
  • Surgery to your brain.
  • Anesthesia given during surgery.

As you can see, there are many different things that can cause problems with your memory, cognition and focusing abilities that happen before, during and/or after cancer treatment.

It’s important as a cancer patient, if you start experiencing any of these symptoms that you speak with your healthcare provider. There are things you can do and ways to cope with the symptoms of chemobrain.

Make sure to tune in next week where we will discuss how you can retrain your chemobrain and how to best optimize your brain health. I’ll share tips to help you keep the healthiest brain you can through and during treatment for your cancer.

 : Take steps daily to boost your mind. A healthy, strong mind can help you achieve so much!


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