April 11, 2023
Chemo brain is often referred to as chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment. It is a common side effect that many cancer patients experience during or after receiving cancer treatments.
Although the precise cause of chemo brain is not entirely understood, it can happen due to some medical procedures during cancer treatment. Around 75% of patients have chemo brain symptoms while undergoing cancer treatment, and a further 35% report issues after finishing treatment.
However, its prevalence in cancer patients might vary based on several factors, including the type of cancer, its stage, and the type, and dosage of chemotherapy being administered.
Read on to know more about chemo brain and possible ways to enable recovery from it.
This therapy, when administered particularly to the brain, can result in cognitive issues such as memory loss and concentration problems.
Chemo brain can be caused due to several hormone therapies used to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other types of cancer.
In some cases, surgery that takes place to remove a brain tumor or to treat cancer in other parts of the body can cause cognitive problems associated with chemo brain.
Not all patients who undergo cancer treatments experience chemo brain or other cognitive problems. The severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms of chemo brain include:
One of the most prevalent signs of chemo brain is memory issues. This may involve having trouble recalling specifics such as names, appointments, and other basic information.
The short-term memory of patients, which includes their ability to recall what they had for breakfast or what they did earlier in the day, may also be impaired. In some severe cases, the patient may also have issues with their long-term memory, such as having trouble recalling past events.
Some patients may have difficulty focusing on tasks, sustaining attention, and multitasking. They could have trouble staying focused while engaging in routine activities like reading, writing, or conversing. These difficulties can impact a patient's ability to work, socialize, or carry out everyday tasks.
A patient who has chemo brain may also experience a slower thinking speed, which could affect their capacity for decision-making and problem-solving. lower information processing speed may also contribute to difficulties with attention and concentration, as it can take longer to process and integrate new information.
Another common sign of the chemo brain is trouble remembering or finding the correct words to use during a conversation. People could find it difficult to communicate their thoughts or understand what people are saying to them. This symptom can impact their ability to communicate effectively with others.
Individuals experiencing disorientation could feel confused, or struggle to find their way around familiar surroundings. They can have problems recalling everyday details like where they parked their car or how to go home. This may affect the patient's capacity for doing daily tasks and can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Staying organized for a day-to-day task can be helpful for chemo brain patients. Some important steps that can help patients are:
Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus and attention, and improve overall well-being. Some common ways to practice it are:
Cancer treatment can be mentally and physically draining, and chemo brain's cognitive side effects can make it harder for patients to sleep and maintain their energy levels. Here are some ways for getting enough rest:
Cancer patients are recommended to consult with their doctor and get a precise schedule for rest hours because staying inactive for longer times can lead to serious health consequences.
Mental exercises can improve memory, focus, and processing speed while also serving as an enjoyable and entertaining diversion during cancer treatment. Here are some good mental games to be considered:
It is a form of therapy that focuses on enhancing cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed. Cognitive rehabilitation aims to assist chemo brain patients to regain their cognitive capacities and enhance their general quality of life.
The therapy program could call for a range of workouts and activities, like:
Patients who are considering cognitive rehabilitation as a treatment for chemo brain should consult with their physicians. As they will help them to determine the underlying causes of cognitive problems, the severity of symptoms, and the appropriate treatment.
During cancer treatment, patients usually experience increased stress and changes in their sleep and diet patterns. They also consume a variety of medications to help with nausea and pain.
Each of these factors can affect cognitive function and cause chemo brain. Cancer patients need to seek help and support if they are experiencing chemo brain symptoms, as early treatment can lead to better outcomes. Make an appointment with Advanced Cancer Treatment Centers to consult the best oncologists in Brooksville, Florida.
*Data retrieved from the National Library of Medicine on Chemo Brain.
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