The various cognitive impairments collectively known as “chemo brain” can cause anxiety, frustration and difficulty with everyday tasks for cancer survivors. Despite what the term suggests, “chemo brain” and its associated mental changes are not necessarily related only to chemotherapy.
Does chemotherapy damage the brain?
Michelle Monje and her colleagues found that the chemotherapy drug methotrexate can affect three major types of brain cells, resulting in a phenomenon known as “chemo brain.” More than half of cancer survivors suffer from cognitive impairment from chemotherapy that lingers for months or years after the cancer is gone.
Do you recover from chemo brain?
Does chemobrain ever go away? For most patients, chemobrain improves within 9-12 months after completing chemotherapy, but many people still have symptoms at the six-month mark. A smaller fraction of people (approximately 10-20%) may have long-term effects.
How do people cope with chemo brain?
Until then, if you are affected by chemo brain, there are some steps you can take.
- Try mindfulness. “If you can attend to things longer, you are more likely to store them [in memory],” said McGregor. …
- Sample some cognitive practices. …
- Get some physical exercise. …
- Ask for help. …
- Work on your strengths.
Does chemo lower IQ?
Between one-quarter and one-third of those who got chemotherapy scored near the bottom in at least four of the nine areas of intellectual ability that the researchers measured. Only half as many of the patients who got surgery or radiation alone did that badly.
Another find in the study was that patients with a genotype known as APOE ɛ4 that were treated chemotherapy had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those that did not receive chemotherapy. This genotype is associated with the proteins that can build up to cause Alzheimer’s.
Can you get disability for chemo brain?
However, it’s difficult to get disability solely because of chemo or radiation treatments because of the SSA’s time requirement. The SSA requires that you are unable to work for at least one year. Often, the negative side effects of chemo or radiation are temporary and fluctuate over the course of treatment.
What are the signs that chemo is working?
How Can We Tell if Chemotherapy is Working?
- A lump or tumor involving some lymph nodes can be felt and measured externally by physical examination.
- Some internal cancer tumors will show up on an x-ray or CT scan and can be measured with a ruler.
- Blood tests, including those that measure organ function can be performed.
Does chemo change a person’s personality?
Can chemo affect a person mentally? Chemotherapy can affect a person’s mood, as can other medications such as steroids. It is important that you and your husband inform his doctor of changes in his mood to rule out any medical causes.