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Chemo brain : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment


 What is Chemo brain?

Most outline it as a decrease in mental “sharpness” and describe it as being unable to recollect bound things and having trouble finishing tasks, concentrating on one thing, or learning new skills. Even if its precise cause isn’t well-known, it will happen at any time once you have cancer.

What is Chemo brain?
Chemo brain

These mental changes will create folks unable to perform usual activities like faculty, work, or social activities. Or it will seem to be that it takes heaps of mental effort to try and do them. Many folks do not tell their cancer care team regarding their issues till it affects their lifestyle. It is vital to induce, facilitate and support, thus take care to let your cancer care team understand if you notice any mental changes, notwithstanding however little.

  1. Nervous system

Medical terms

  • Chemo brain could be a common term employed by cancer survivors to explain thinking and memory issues which will occur throughout and once cancer treatment. Chemo brain can even be referred to as chemo fog, cancer-related psychological feature impairment or psychological feature pathology.

  • Though chemo brain could be a widely used term, the causes of concentration and memory issues are not well-understood. It's possible that this square measures multiple causes.

  • No matter the cause, chemo brain will be a frustrating and debilitating facet result of cancer and its treatment. Researchers square measure operating to grasp the memory changes of folks with cancer expertise.

  • One of the most difficult changes that some cancer survivors experience is a type of mental fog or reduced cognitive function called "chemo brain." Chemotherapy can damage nerve cells in areas of the brain related to memory and concentration causing a loss of capacity This can affect your ability to perform everyday tasks and make decisions; it may be especially hard on patients with pre-existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease When undergoing treatment it is important to manage stress as well as maintain physical strength and balance to reduce your risk of developing chemo brain You should also stay up-to-date with medical appointments continue any regular exercise routine you.

: Symptoms and treatment options Chemo brain is something that many cancer patients experience during chemotherapy While the term is not officially recognized chemo brain causes cognitive problems that significantly affect day-to-day functioning

Symptoms Chemo brain

Signs and symptoms of chemo brain may include the following:

  • Being unusually disorganized

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty finding the right word

  • Difficulty learning new skills

  • Difficulty multitasking

  • 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

When to see a doctor

If you experience disturbing memory or thinking issues, create a briefing together with your doctor. Keep a journal of your signs and symptoms so your doctor will be higher perceived however your memory issues square measure moving your lifestyle.

Causes Chemo brain

Chemo brain is most ordinarily connected with therapy, however alternative treatments, like secretion medical aid, radiation, and surgery conjointly be|is also} related to it also. These treatments will cause short-run, long-term, or delayed mental changes or psychological feature issues. on the far side the chemo brain symptoms that begin throughout and simply when treatment, there are unit some cases wherever chemo brain symptoms begin and continue when treatment is over. Some folks with cancer have terribly real brain issues albeit they haven’t had chemo.

There are several doable factors which may contribute to the signs and symptoms of memory issues in cancer survivors.


Cancer-related causes may include:


  • A cancer diagnosis can be quite stressful and it might lead to anxiety and depression, which can contribute to thinking and memory problems

  • Certain cancers can produce chemicals that affect memory

  • Cancers that begin in the brain or spread to the brain might cause changes in thinking

Cancer treatments

Complications of cancer treatment

  • Anemia

  • Fatigue

  • Infection

  • Menopause or other hormonal changes (caused by cancer treatment)

  • Sleep problems

  • Pain due to cancer treatments

Other causes

  • Inherited susceptibility to chemo brain

  • Medications for other cancer-related signs and symptoms, such as pain medications

  • Other medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, depression, anxiety and nutritional deficiency

Risk factors Chemo brain

Factors that may increase the risk of memory problems in cancer survivors include:

  • Brain cancer

  • Cancer that spreads (metastasizes) to the brain

  • Higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation

  • Radiation therapy to the brain

  • Younger age at time of cancer diagnosis and treatment

  • Increasing age

Complications Chemo brain

The severity and length of the symptoms generally delineated as chemo brain dissent from person to person. Most cancer survivors can come to figure, however some can notice tasks take further concentration or time. Others are also unable to come to figure.

If you expertise severe memory or concentration issues that create it tough to try and do your job, tell your doctor. You will be cited as an Associate in Nursing activity healer or a neuropsychologist, WHO will assist you with your current job or establish your strengths in order that you will notice a replacement job.

In rare cases, individuals with memory and concentration issues square measure unable to figure and will take into account applying for incapacity edges. raise your health care team for a referral to Associate in Nursing medicine public servant or an analogous skilled WHO will assist you perceive your choices.

Is chemo brain curable?

In the past few decades there has been a lot of excitement about the possibility of curing cancer In fact we've seen huge breakthroughs in treating cancer with chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy But sometimes when doctors cure cancer another type of damage gets left behind - something called "chemo brain." Chemo brain is a side effects associated with having received treatment for cancer using certain types of drugs or radiation therapy These treatments work by killing rapidly dividing cells in your body to stop tumor growth Unfortunately they also kill other rapidly dividing cells - including those in your nervous system responsible for storing new information that you learn Common chemo brain.

What does the chemo brain feel like?

When I was diagnosed with cancer everyone warned me about hair loss but they didn't tell me that chemo brain would turn my life upside down Cancer shrinks your body's organs and glands which include the brain The cumulative effect of chemotherapy causes confusion forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate It took months before I started feeling like myself again But now that I've been in remission for years I believe food can help stave off some of the effects of chemo brain.

What happens to the brain during chemo?

Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer The most common ones affect cells that grow very quickly dividing and making more cells after they have split Chemo kills the cells rapidly which is why it can be effective at treating certain forms of cancer Unfortunately it also affects other kinds of fast-dividing cells in the body that aren't necessarily unhealthy like hair follicles and gut bacteria All this means people who undergo chemotherapy may experience several side effects both during treatment and for some time afterward The most common chemo side effects are fatigue feeling unwell and appetite loss—all caused by anemia.

How common is chemo brain?

While chemo brain may not be as devastating as some other potential long-term side effects of undergoing chemotherapy the condition is still a very real threat to people who are in remission and trying to get their lives back on track The good news is that there are ways to help minimize or even prevent this type of cognitive impairment from occurring after cancer treatment.

Which drugs cause chemo brain?

Chemotherapy drugs can cause a variety of side effects Although most chemo drugs are metabolized by the liver some pass through this organ and enter the bloodstream In general solid tumors grow slowly so your immune system has time to adapt to changes in its environment But chemotherapy can easily disrupt that balance and send your immune system into overdrive — causing inflammation of the lung lining (pneumonitis) for example or other unwanted reactions like fevers chills and sweating These side effects may aggravate existing health problems such as heart disease or diabetes So you should take certain precautions if you’re receiving.

What is the hardest chemo drug?

Cisplatin or cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(II) is a chemotherapy medication used to treat a variety of cancers Although cisplatin has fewer side effects than some other chemo drugs it is one of the most toxic treatments available Cisplatin is known to cause numerous short-term and long-term side effects that can be harmful to your health.

Diagnosis Chemo brain

There aren't any tests to diagnose chemo brain. Cancer survivors WHO expertise these symptoms usually score inside traditional ranges on memory tests.

  1. Mental And Psychological Examination

Your doctor could suggest blood tests, brain scans or different tests to rule out different causes of memory issues.

  1. Cerebral angiography

  2. Brain scanning

  3. Echoencephalography

  4. Magnetoencephalography

  5. Pneumoencephalography

Treatment Chemo brain

Chemo brain treatment focuses on addressing symptoms. In most cases, cancer-related memory issues are temporary.

Because chemo brain symptoms and severity disagree from person to person, your doctor will work with you to develop a personalized approach to cope.

Controlling conditions that contribute to memory problems

Cancer and willcer treatment can result in different conditions, like anemia, depression, sleep issues and early biological time, which can worsen memory issues. dominant these different factors might create it easier to address these symptoms.

Managing chemo brain symptoms

A professional United Nations agency makes a speciality of diagnosis and treating conditions that have an effect on memory and thinking (neuropsychologist) will produce an inspiration to assist you deal with chemo brain symptoms. Doctors typically confer with this as psychological feature rehabilitation or psychological feature remedy.

Learning to adapt and deal with memory changes could involve:

  • Repetitive exercises to train your brain. Memory and thinking exercises may help your brain repair broken circuits that may contribute to chemo brain.

  • Tracking and understanding what influences memory problems. Carefully tracking your memory problems may reveal ways to cope. For instance, if you become more easily distracted when you're hungry or tired, you could schedule difficult tasks that require extra concentration for the time of day when you feel your best.

  • Using coping strategies. You may learn new ways of doing everyday tasks to help you concentrate. For instance, you may learn to take notes or make an outline of written material as you read. Or a therapist may help you learn ways of speaking that help you commit conversations to memory and then retrieve those memories later.

  • Stress-relief techniques. Stressful things will create memory issues additional seemingly. And having memory issues are often disagreeable. To finish the cycle, you'll learn relaxation techniques. These techniques, like progressive muscle relaxation or heedfulness practices, might assist you determine stress and assist you cope.


No medications are approved to treat chemo brain. Medications approved for different conditions are also thought of if you and your doctor agree they'll provide some profit.

Medications that area unit generally employed in folks with these symptoms include:

  • Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin, others), a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Donepezil (Aricept), a drug used in people with Alzheimer's disease

  • Modafinil (Provigil), a drug used in people with certain sleep disorders

  • Memantine (Namenda), a drug used to improve memory in people with Alzheimer's disease, may help during radiation therapy to the brain

Lifestyle and home remedies

You can take steps to ease chemo brain symptoms on your own. For instance, try to:

  • Control what you can about your working environment. If noise and commotion are contributing to your distraction, try to find a quiet place where you can concentrate. Consider earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Soft music may help drown out other noises.

  • Prepare yourself for success. Before braving an advanced task that needs concentration, take steps to confirm that you just can have the most effective probability for achievement. Eat thus you will not be distracted by hunger. decide a time of day once you will be the foremost alert. Get a decent night's sleep. Have an idea thus you recognize specifically what you'll have to try and do so as to complete your task. 

  • Stay organized. Use calendars or planners to stay on task. That method you will not pay time for if you are forgetting a meeting or Associate in Nursing item on your commotion list. Write everything down in your planner. create organization a priority reception and at work, too. Having an Associate in Nursing organized work house means that you'll be able to pay longer on tasks that you simply have to be compelled to accomplish. 

  • Clear your mind of distractions. When distracting thoughts pop up, write them down in your planner. Recording your thoughts will help to quickly clear them and ensure that you remember them later.

  • Take frequent breaks. Divide your tasks into manageable portions and take a break each time you complete one part. Give yourself a short rest so that you'll be able to continue later.

  • Exercise your brain. Try crossword puzzles or number games to exercise your brain. Take up a new hobby or master a new skill, such as learning to play a musical instrument or learning a language.

  • Exercise your body. Moderate exercise, like brisk walking, will assist you deal with stress, fatigue and depression. All will contribute to memory issues. If you haven't been active recently, get the OK from your doctor 1st. 

Alternative medicine

No various treatments are found to forestall or cure chemo brain. If you are inquisitive about attempting various treatments for your symptoms, discuss the risks and advantages along with your doctor.

Complementary and various treatments may assist you address distress, which may contribute to thinking and memory issues in folks with cancer.

Examples of treatments which may facilitate include:

  • Art therapy

  • Exercise

  • Meditation

  • Music therapy

  • Relaxation exercises

  • Spirituality

Coping and support

Chemo brain symptoms are often frustrating and debilitative. With time, you {will find} ways in which to adapt so concentration will become easier and memory issues might fade. Until then, grasp that this can be a typical drawback that is possible to boost with time. you would possibly realize it useful to:

  • Understand that memory problems happen to everyone. Despite your best methods for addressing your memory changes, you will still have the occasional lapse. It happens to everybody. whereas you'll have very little management over the cancer-treatment-related memory changes, you'll be able to manage alternative causes of memory lapses that square measure common to everybody, like being to a fault tired, distracted or undone. 

  • Take time each day to relax. Stress can contribute to memory and concentration problems. Devote time each day to stress-relief activities, such as exercise, listening to music, meditation or writing in a journal.

  • Be honest with others about your symptoms. Be open and honest with those that area units about you concerning your chemo brain symptoms. make a case for your symptoms and conjointly counsel ways that friends and family will facilitate. For example, you may raise a follower to prompt you of plans by each phone and email. 

Preparing for your appointment

If you are presently undergoing cancer treatment, see your medical specialist concerning your signs and symptoms. If you have completed treatment, you may begin by creating an arrangement along with your GP. In some cases, you'll be named an expert United Nations agency that specializes in serving folks dealing with memory difficulties (neuropsychologist).

Because appointments are often temporary, and since there is usually loads of ground to hide, it is a sensible plan to be well-prepared. Here's some data to assist you prepare and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Keep a journal of your memory lapses. Describe the situations in which you experience memory problems. Note what you were doing and what type of difficulty you experienced.

  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements that you're taking.

  • Take a family member or friend along or bring a recorder. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot. Record the conversation with your doctor so you can listen to it later.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time together with your doctor is proscribed, thus making ready a listing of queries will assist you create the foremost of your visit. List your queries from vital|most vital|most significant} to least important just in case time runs out. For chemo brain, some basic inquiries to raise your doctor would possibly include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?

  • How long do symptoms typically last?

  • What kinds of tests can help determine whether my symptoms are caused by cancer treatment?

  • Should I see a neuropsychologist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?

  • What is the best treatment for my symptoms?

  • Are there things I can do on my own, in addition to the treatment you're suggesting, to help improve my memory problems?

  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

  • Should I plan for a follow-up visit?

  • If I need brain radiation, can you do hippocampal-sparing radiation?

  • Should I take memantine (Namenda) during brain radiation?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing these symptoms?

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?

  • How do your symptoms affect your everyday life?

  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?

  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

Can chemo brain be prevented?

So far, there's no reputation thanks to forestall the psychological feature changes that cause chemo brain. This is often as a result of the cause square measure still being studied. For a few individuals, treating their cancer can mean they may have trouble with thinking, memory, planning, and finding the proper words. Chemo brain appears to happen a lot typically in folks that get high doses of chemo, and is a lot likely to happen if the brain is additionally treated with radiation.

General summary

  1. After chemotherapy the brain goes through a healing process Due to the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs and radiation these cells do not regenerate as fast as they should or in some cases at all The severity of the damage depends on many factors: the patient's age health status prior to treatment dosage and type of chemo agents used For instance breast cancer patients often do much better than young women who have leukemia.

Chemo brain : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

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