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Reasons for Cognitive Complaints

Posted 4/26/2013

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Chemo brain is an often discussed and debated issue. Most of us feel some degree of mental fuzziness during treatment, and it seems impossible to know where to ascribe the blame. Is the change due to stress or fatigue or anxiety or all the drugs we are taking? Any of us who have taken, or are taking chemotherapy, know the unpleasant feeling of "my body has become a toxic waste dump." We are just not the same, and our minds usually are not either. Fortunately, for almost everyone, this fairly quickly resolves when the treatment ends.

This recent study from JCNI suggests that 23% of women undergoing treatment experience memory problems, and 19% have difficulties with executive function. These can be real and serious issues which make it more difficult for us to manage our days in the usual busy way.

There are work arounds, and it primarily helps to be reassured that this, too, will pass. It may also help to remember that no one really expects us to be at our best during treatment, and most people will cut us some slack.

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