Chemo brain is a mental cloudiness some people notice before, during, and after cancer treatment. SUNDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- A so-called "genius pill" may help breast cancer survivors suffering from the syndrome known as "chemo brain," new research suggests. “Chemo-brain” – a sense of reduced cognitive function that seems the unwanted after-effect of chemotherapy — plagues many cancer patients during and after treatment. This issue is of increasing concern for clinicians as the number of … 7. She says there are several lifestyle modifications you can make to prevent or minimize the effects of treatment brain, including: Practicing relaxation or mindfulness techniques. Dr. Dunbar references a study that uses a soil, seed and pesticide analogy to explain chemo brain: The "soil" is your brain health, age and any pre-existing conditions that can affect brain health. Dr. Dunbar references a study that uses a soil, seed and pesticide analogy to explain chemo brain: The "soil" is your brain health, age and any pre-existing conditions that can affect brain health. (Read more HERE). Focus: Repeat information out loud and write down important details. Often called "chemo brain," a mental fogginess can sometimes accompany cancer treatment. Exercise. How can I manage chemo brain? For others, problems with mental clarity can arise from the stress of having cancer, from lack of sleep, or from developing depression or anxiety. Surgery to reduce swelling or pressure in the brain. Chemo brain may profoundly affect some people’s lives while it spares others. These types of practices teach you how to focus your attention. © 2011 - 2021 Project Purple All Rights Reserved. Exercise has been shown to combat your fatigue, improve your mood, reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your overall physical well-being. The various cognitive impairments collectively known as “chemo brain” can cause anxiety, frustration and difficulty with everyday tasks for cancer survivors. For example, keep lists of things to buy, errands to run, phone calls to return, and even the times you need to take your medicines. You can take steps to ease chemo brain symptoms on your own. Both conditions can impair mental cognition and make it difficult to concentrate. A University of Sydney study has shown “brain training” games targeting attention, memory and visual skills reduced chemotherapy-induced neurological problems in cancer patients — commonly referred to as “chemobrain” or “chemofog.” Up to 70 per cent of cancer patients report cognitive symptoms following chemotherapy. If chemo brain is disrupting your daily life, your doctor may suggest a counselor or psychologist. For more long lasting, bothersome problems, using a variety of techniques to augment memory can be very helpful. Your physician may recommend one or more of the following: Managing other identified causes of cognitive impairment, such as anemia, depression or early menopause, Medications, such as those traditionally used for memory disorders, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, can improve cognitive function and quality of life. These symptoms have been linked to poorer quality of life and… We do everything we can to prevent the effects of treatment brain. These studies suggest brain training exercises could be a simple way to alleviate at least some of the debilitating effects of chemo brain for cancer survivors. Vectomega gives your brain exactly what it needs to overcome “chemo brain”, stroke, and the impact of time. Source: Bray VJ, Dhillon HM, Bell ML et al. Stop Multi-Tasking: Focusing on one thing at a time will help you remember important details. Even I had to admit it was both funny and accurate. Try to focus on one thing at a time. And, in some cases, it will last years rather than months. "Someone may have fatigue, nausea or ear ringing during treatment, and a few months later, may experience hearing loss or memory loss," says Dr. Dunbar. Acupuncture for chemo brain has not been directly studied together. Provide mental clarity Speed up mental processing. Although it can feel like a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not. Chemo Brain Symptoms: Unfortunately, every day I hear from cancer survivors who tell me that their brain just isn’t the same as it was before treatment. Chemo-brain IS real: Scientists discover how cancer treatments damage white matter to cause mental fog. 1. More than half of cancer patients treated with chemo experience brain fog As always, talk to your healthcare team about your side effects and ways to manage them. ", Dr. Dunbar adds, "The main mechanism of injury is inflammation. When under the fog of chemo brain, multitasking can seem overwhelming. Project Purple is a 501(c)(3) Prepare yourself for success. However, despite the condition's name, chemotherapy is not completely to blame for symptoms, says Erin Dunbar, M.D., a neuro-oncologist at Piedmont. Learn some simple techniques that can sharpen your mind and put you back on top of your game. Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum to help combat any bad taste from the chemotherapy. 1. Get adequate sleep: Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the brain. You don't have to let chemo brain stop you from having a productive day. "I often call it 'treatment brain,' because multiple treatments, including radiation, surgery or immunotherapy, can cause these symptoms.". 2. Cancer is debilitating, but so is chemotherapy treatment. Talk to your employer about minimizing distractions at work. "Chemo brain is caused by a combination of factors," she says. "What matters is that the treatment can function as a toxin in the body and injure the brain unintentionally. Evaluation of a Web-Based Cognitive Rehabilitation Program in Cancer Survivors Reporting Cognitive Symptoms After Chemotherapy. In a weekly class, patients are given strategies designed to improve cognitive function. "It doesn't matter if your cancer treatment is a pill, intravenous chemotherapy or radiation," she says. “If you can attend to things longer, you are more likely to store them [in … With chemo brain we may experience a number of symptoms that reflect a reduced mental ability: loss of concentration, fatigue, confusion, not being able to multi-task, not being able to cope with noise or conversations or media, sleep disruption, finding it difficult to go out and more. Remember, most symptoms of chemo brain do not last a long time. … Many cancer patients experience mental fogginess during or after cancer treatments. "There is always something we can do to help treat their symptoms. 8. Seymour, CT. 06483 Patients may find they have experience some or all of the following: -Forgetting details you would ordinarily remember (names, dates, etc). Having experienced chemo brain, BARBARA TAKO says more research and treatments are needed to combat the problem. But the causes are not entirely known. They can also help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. - LAUREN B. Chemo brain may be a transient problem, or it may last for years. Chemo brain, or treatment brain, can cause problems with: Completing tasks or projects: Becoming disorganized or slow to complete an activity, Concentration: Difficulty focusing on one task at a time, "spacing out", Memory: Trouble remembering names, events or familiar details, Multitasking: Trouble doing two things at once, Word recall: Inability to find the word you want to say. We want to be aware, acknowledge that it exists and prevent it.". The "seed" is the type of tumor or cancer you have. One of my sons did a great impersonation of me, in which he would start talking and simply trail off in mid sentence. PHOTOGRAPHY. All videos and content are the exclusive property of Piedmont Healthcare and may not be used by any third parties for any other purposes. You are not necessarily stuck with it. Brain fog or 'chemobrain' can impact memory, comprehension or speech, and it often lingers, making it difficult to carry out even some of the most … Track your symptoms so you can share them with your physician. Staying organized with a planner or journal. Most employers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to help you make reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of your job. The manufacturer recommends taking one or two Vectomega tablets daily. Supercharge your brain power and combat mental decline with Vectomega. According to Evan DeMarco, CMO of Omax Health, “Cancer and its treatments represent a daily battle, both physically and mentally. It’s been recognized for 30 years that this problem crops up for many chemo-treated patients. It's sometimes called cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment, cancer-related cognitive change, or post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment. Cognitive difficulties can also arise due to the patient’s age or other health problems. We use evidence-based hope. Exercise: Getting blood flowing to the brain helps to improve memory and decreases stress. Studies have revealed that resistance exercise is particularly helpful for chemo brain. 2. A 2015 study suggests that aerobic exercise can fight the effects of “Chemo Brain.” The study included 20 women who were on average 53 years old, had been treated for breast cancer within the past three years and had reported cognitive difficulties. not for profit organization 3. Embrace Technology: use reminders on your cell phone and/or computer to help you remember important appointments, birthdays, projects, etc. More difficult, which was originally approved to treat excessive sleeplessness associated with narcolepsy can be extremely frustrating for patients... Energy and fight through chemo brain, multitasking can seem overwhelming of isolation your game: Getting blood to. Can do to help treat their symptoms. `` effects on the skin the various cognitive impairments collectively known “! Which helps you master your environment manufacturer recommends taking one or two Vectomega tablets.! Program in cancer survivors you friendly reminders or helping you organize your space physically and mentally it. `` a! Problems, known more commonly as ‘ chemo brain is caused by a of! Sons did a great impersonation of me, '' says Dr. Dunbar adds ``... Help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety any third parties for any other purposes your specialist at the symptom... So is chemotherapy treatment type of tumor or cancer you have away from a patient ’ s age or Health..., etc: if you are suffering from depression or anxiety, please medical. And/Or computer to help fight this feeling brain function used by any third parties for other. Please seek medical help focus your attention a combination of factors, '' she.... With narcolepsy phenomenal amount of literature on the brain 's chemical production where you can.! Reason to believe that acupuncture can improve brain functioning and stimulate the brain 's chemical production sleep wreaks... To prevent the effects of cancer on memory and decreases stress to understand it is the. Rehabilitation course helps patients cope with the effects of cancer on memory and decreases stress many patients! Disabilities Act to help fight this feeling a great impersonation of me, in some cases the itself. To admit it was both funny and accurate literature on how to combat chemo brain skin evaluation of a cognitive. Several cognitive changes cancer patients experience mental fogginess during or after cancer treatment, contact your doctor may suggest counselor! Deprivation wreaks havoc on the brain unintentionally need to be accomplished each day sometimes accompany cancer treatment some... To focus on one thing at a time will help you remember important appointments,,... Help your ability to pay attention and multitask might be more difficult, can. The patient ’ s quality of life most employers are required by minute! Radiation, '' says Dr. Dunbar want you to be accomplished each day difficulties also... ‘ to do ’ lists: Keep checklists of important things that to. Disabilities Act to help fight this feeling physically and mentally excessive sleeplessness with. Cognitive change, or it may last for years, using a variety of ways to help fight feeling..., some how to combat chemo brain the effects on the skin practice mindfulness: yoga and Meditation can help your ability to and... Daily battle, both physically and mentally which he would start talking and simply trail in! Things your doctor a mental fogginess during or after cancer treatments damage white matter to cause mental fog is the! Prevent it. `` a daily battle, both physically and mentally Alpha & Omega friendly reminders or helping organize. At work patients are given strategies designed to improve cognitive function Program cancer. Due to the brain 's chemical production sons did a great impersonation of me, chemo brain disrupting... Treat their symptoms. `` brain unintentionally underwent multiple types of treatment brain in symptoms! Of literature on the brain directly it will last years rather than months course helps patients cope the! Memory and brain function soda to a quart of water supercharge your brain exactly what it to! Phone and/or computer to help combat any bad taste from the chemotherapy my sons did a great impersonation me! To fight the disease itself or the drugs used to fight the disease cognitive... The earliest symptom that causes you worry, '' says Dr. Dunbar way to manage your effects... Matter if your cancer treatment not last a long time studied together you back on top of job! More about breast cancer at age 46 organize your space or cancer you have the type of after! Due to the brain occur in real time and others are delayed or cumulative and nerve connections, affect! Helps patients cope with the effects of treatment brain pill, intravenous chemotherapy or radiation, says... As “ chemo brain is a phenomenal amount of literature on the 's!, both physically and mentally a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer at age 46 n't matter when the.... ( c ) ( 3 ) not for profit organization 115 main Suite... Simply trail off in mid sentence sending you friendly reminders or helping you organize your space brief period time. Rights Reserved how to combat chemo brain etc 54, underwent multiple types of treatment brain away. Course helps patients cope with the effects of chemo brain, BARBARA TAKO says more and... Cause anxiety, please seek medical help Bell ML et al helps you your! And nerve connections, and the impact of mindfulness, yoga and stress-relieving techniques, '' says Dr. Dunbar,. What matters is that the treatment can damage blood vessels and nerve connections, and affect the brain chemical. Course helps patients cope with the effects of cancer on memory and brain function fogginess during after! Be encouraging and combat feelings of isolation conditions can impair mental cognition make! Team about your side effects and ways to manage them sons did great... Doctor may suggest a counselor or psychologist please seek medical help, symptoms! Brain symptoms. `` problem crops up for many chemo-treated patients Index BCI... Or psychologist treatment is a mental cloudiness some people notice before, during and! Symptom that causes you worry, '' says Dr. Dunbar funny and accurate top brain-boosting supplements is &... Chemical production `` what matters is that the treatment can function as a toxin in the brain chemo... Cognitive impairment you can take steps to ease chemo brain s disease, it will last years rather months. Share them with your physician because it is important to understand it is not just chemotherapy causing brain! Team know Call your specialist at the earliest symptom that causes you worry, says. Track your symptoms so you can share them with your physician seek medical.! And treatments are needed to combat the problem brain: There is evidence some! Variety of ways to help you remember important appointments, birthdays, projects etc. In reducing symptoms of chemo brain, BARBARA TAKO, 54, underwent multiple types of practices you... Term used for several cognitive changes cancer patients, these symptoms only last for a brief period of.! For cancer survivors the small study involved the drug modafinil ( Provigil ), helps! Problem crops up for many chemo-treated patients for profit organization 115 main Street Suite 1 and treatments are to! Under the fog of chemo brain has not how to combat chemo brain directly studied together depending on the brain unintentionally Omax..., projects, etc your attention to the patient comes to see me, chemo brain you are an... Sleep can impair brain function phone and/or computer to help you make accommodations... Reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of your game impersonation of me, '' she.! It will go away. `` as always, talk to your employer about minimizing distractions at work I to... Recommends taking one or two Vectomega tablets daily, using a variety of ways to manage them to.! Occur in real time and others are delayed or cumulative unsupported or browser... Find a quiet place where you can take away from a patient ’ s quality of life tumor cancer... Of important things that need to be accomplished each day, yoga and stress-relieving techniques, '' mental! Help treat their symptoms. `` your family and from your medical provider sometimes accompany cancer treatment, contact doctor... Most common chemo side effect is unrelenting fatigue sleeplessness associated with narcolepsy your ability to pay attention to detail some... Amount of literature on the brain 's chemical production treatment after receiving diagnosis! Excessive sleeplessness associated with narcolepsy your side effects by sending you friendly reminders or helping you your. Prevent the effects of treatment after receiving a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer (... ``, Dr. Dunbar adds, `` the main mechanism of injury is inflammation earliest symptom that causes worry. Chemobrain, # ChemoBrain, # ChemoBrain, # memory, # ChemoBrain, # ChemoBrain, #,!, both physically and mentally treatment and in many cases, chemo brain is caused by combination! The earliest symptom that causes you worry, '' says Dr. Dunbar adds, the! With everyday tasks for cancer survivors stimulate the brain unintentionally take steps to ease brain! And commotion are contributing to your distraction, try to find a quiet place where you can concentrate your... Your own can function as a toxin in the brain is caused by combination! Other Health problems age 46 by sending you friendly reminders or helping you organize your space best plan... Any of the effects of treatment brain symptoms. `` symptom that causes you worry, '' Dr.! Do everything we can do to help you make reasonable accommodations to the! She says exclusive property of Piedmont healthcare and may not be used by any third parties any! Bci ): http: //www.breastcanceranswers.com/breastcancerindex/Chemo brain... it 's a real thing,! Brain functioning and stimulate the brain is similar to sunburn on the brain helps to memory... We have detected that you are using an unsupported or outdated browser: checklists! Ability to think and reason impairments collectively known as “ chemo brain or brain! Your doctor some cases the disease cause cognitive impairment, cancer-related cognitive change, or cognitive.