Fighting cognitive decline has never been easier. If you experience any of the above symptoms during or after cancer treatment, contact your doctor. However, if chemo brain lasts for months or years, it can have a significant impact on a cancer patient’s quality of life. "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. If noise and commotion are contributing to your distraction, try to find a quiet place where you can concentrate. Barbara Tako, 54, underwent multiple types of treatment after receiving a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer at age 46. Even I had to admit it was both funny and accurate. 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. Everyday things such as struggling to pay attention and multitask might be more difficult, which can sometimes be discouraging. This issue is of increasing concern for clinicians as the number of … 2. 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. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve brain functioning and stimulate the brain directly. When under the fog of chemo brain, multitasking can seem overwhelming. You don't have to let chemo brain stop you from having a productive day. Ten Tips for Combating Chemo Brain. Another rinse you may want to try is adding one-half teaspoon each of salt and baking soda to a quart of water. 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. These problems, known more commonly as ‘chemo brain’, can be extremely frustrating for cancer patients. Vectomega gives your brain exactly what it needs to overcome “chemo brain”, stroke, and the impact of time. Seek treatment for depression and/or anxiety: If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, please let your medical team know. Prepare yourself for success. Aerobic exercises – walking, running, dancing, or cycling, to name a few – are probably better, but one study did show that resistance and strength training helped as well. - LAUREN B. But the causes are not entirely known. The small study involved the drug modafinil (Provigil), which was originally approved to treat excessive sleeplessness associated with narcolepsy. If you are having trouble sleeping, please seek medical help. "Call your specialist at the earliest symptom that causes you worry," says Dr. Dunbar. "Symptoms can come in waves or stages. Track your symptoms so you can share them with your physician. Cognitive difficulties can also arise due to the patient’s age or other health problems. Talking to patients facing similar challenges can be encouraging and combat feelings of isolation. Certainly one issue which might contribute to it is … Continued This gives us reason to believe that acupuncture could be helpful in reducing symptoms of chemo brain. Project Purple is a 501(c)(3) 3. Exercise: Getting blood flowing to the brain helps to improve memory and decreases stress. Chemo brain is a mental cloudiness some people notice before, during, and after cancer treatment. It is important to understand it is not just chemotherapy causing chemo brain or treatment brain. Most employers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to help you make reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of your job. "What matters is that the treatment can function as a toxin in the body and injure the brain unintentionally. 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. For more long lasting, bothersome problems, using a variety of techniques to augment memory can be very helpful. In a weekly class, patients are given strategies designed to improve cognitive function. ", "Chemo brain or treatment brain is real and there is evidence-based hope that we can successfully treat it," says Dr. Dunbar. 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. 1. Studies have revealed that resistance exercise is particularly helpful for chemo brain. … Many cancer patients experience mental fogginess during or after cancer treatments. The "pesticide" is the type of cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy or immunotherapy) used to fight your cancer. Patients may find they have experience some or all of the following: -Forgetting details you would ordinarily remember (names, dates, etc). Cognitive problems can take away from a patient’s quality of life. "Many patients have meaningful improvements with treatment and in many cases, chemo brain or treatment brain goes away. Get plenty of rest, since lack of sleep can impair brain function. One of the top brain-boosting supplements is Alpha & Omega. Both conditions can impair mental cognition and make it difficult to concentrate. 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 basic everyday activities and greatly decreases overall quality of life. How can I manage chemo brain? I’m talking blithering idiot territory. PHOTOGRAPHY. 3. However, despite the condition's name, chemotherapy is not completely to blame for symptoms, says Erin Dunbar, M.D., a neuro-oncologist at Piedmont. Remove Distractions: If you are trying to concentrate on something important, try to remove background noise or any other sensory information that may distract you from the task at hand. "I often call it 'treatment brain,' because multiple treatments, including radiation, surgery or immunotherapy, can cause these symptoms.". One way to manage your energy and fight through chemo brain is with exercise. Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum to help combat any bad taste from the chemotherapy. term used to describe the thinking and memory problems that comes about during and after treatment ", Dr. Dunbar adds, "The main mechanism of injury is inflammation. All videos and content are the exclusive property of Piedmont Healthcare and may not be used by any third parties for any other purposes. At Piedmont, our treatment plans are personalized to the patient's unique cancer journey and are precise, using the best available evidence to optimize their situation.". Exercise has been shown to combat your fatigue, improve your mood, reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your overall physical well-being. While the "pesticide" works to kill cancer cells, it can cause unintended damage to healthy cells as well as inflammation of the brain. One of my sons did a great impersonation of me, in which he would start talking and simply trail off in mid sentence. For most cancer patients, these symptoms only last for a brief period of time. Exercise your brain: There is evidence that some brain training may help counter the effects of cancer on memory and brain function. It depends on your individual circumstance, but in general, treatment brain or chemo brain responds well to treatment and it is not dangerous. For me, chemo brain meant I could feel myself becoming dumber by the minute! Chemo brain is a subject of recent NCI research that examined the long-term impacts patients felt in the months and years after their chemotherapy treatment on breast cancer patients. According to Evan DeMarco, CMO of Omax Health, “Cancer and its treatments represent a daily battle, both physically and mentally. In addition, emphasis is placed on lifestyle changes that can enhance cognitive performance and … Go easy on yourself. 115 Main Street Suite 1. Can cancer treatment affect your memory and concentration? There is a real possibility it will go away.". Practice Mindfulness: Yoga and Meditation can help your ability to pay attention to detail. It’s been recognized for 30 years that this problem crops up for many chemo-treated patients. 6. Exercise. And, in some cases, it will last years rather than months. increased stress, anxiety and depression.) 10. So, for chemo brain, you … They can also help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Supercharge your brain power and combat mental decline with Vectomega. Try to focus on one thing at a time. These symptoms have been linked to poorer quality of life and… The "seed" is the type of tumor or cancer you have. Focus: Repeat information out loud and write down important details. We want to be aware, acknowledge that it exists and prevent it.". In some cases the disease itself or the drugs used to fight the disease cause cognitive impairment. Regular exercise also has been known to improve cognition or your ability to think and reason. Inflammation in the brain is similar to sunburn on the skin. For instance, try to: 1. 2. Chemo-brain IS real: Scientists discover how cancer treatments damage white matter to cause mental fog. Consider joining a support group. Learn some simple techniques that can sharpen your mind and put you back on top of your game. Embrace Technology: use reminders on your cell phone and/or computer to help you remember important appointments, birthdays, projects, etc. We don't want you to be fearful of chemotherapy because it is not the only cause of treatment brain symptoms.". Scientists believe chemo brain has more than one cause. 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 … Chemo brain may be a transient problem, or it may last for years. For others, problems with mental clarity can arise from the stress of having cancer, from lack of sleep, or from developing depression or anxiety. "The earlier we know, the easier it can be to fix.". Acupuncture for chemo brain has not been directly studied together. Embrace Technology: use reminders on your cell phone and/or computer to help you remember important appointments, birthdays, projects, etc. The "seed" is the type of tumor or cancer you have. It's sometimes called cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment, cancer-related cognitive change, or post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment. Remember, most symptoms of chemo brain do not last a long time. Find out more about Breast Cancer Index (BCI): http://www.breastcanceranswers.com/breastcancerindex/Chemo brain...it's a real thing. Try mindfulness. Surgery to reduce swelling or pressure in the brain. 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. 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. 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 basic everyday activities and greatly decreases overall quality of life. This 6-week rehabilitation course helps patients cope with the effects of chemo brain. not for profit organization You can take steps to ease chemo brain symptoms on your own. Having experienced chemo brain, BARBARA TAKO says more research and treatments are needed to combat the problem. “Chemo-brain” – a sense of reduced cognitive function that seems the unwanted after-effect of chemotherapy — plagues many cancer patients during and after treatment. Until then, if you are affected by chemo brain, there are some steps you can take. 4. The manufacturer recommends taking one or two Vectomega tablets daily. An update is not required, but for best search experience we strongly recommend updating to the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer 11+. The various cognitive impairments collectively known as “chemo brain” can cause anxiety, frustration and difficulty with everyday tasks for cancer survivors. As always, talk to your healthcare team about your side effects and ways to manage them. "There is always something we can do to help treat their symptoms. 1. 5 Try herbal teas to reduce nausea. Cross items off as you finish them. We do everything we can to prevent the effects of treatment brain. Carry a pad with you and write down the things you need to do. Chemo-brain is a term frequently used within the cancer community to describe the feeling of memory loss and seemingly slower cognitive function after various types of cancer treatment. Provide mental clarity Speed up mental processing. You are not necessarily stuck with it. Depending on the type of treatment, some of the effects on the brain occur in real time and others are delayed or cumulative. See 11 things your doctor wants you to know. More than half of cancer patients treated with chemo experience brain fog “If you can attend to things longer, you are more likely to store them [in … Chemo Brain is the term used for several cognitive changes cancer patients and survivors fact. "There is a phenomenal amount of literature on the positive impact of mindfulness, yoga and stress-relieving techniques," says Dr. Dunbar. Be honest with your friends and family about your “chemo brain.” If you explain what you are going through, they can be more understanding. 8. 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. 9. "Chemo brain is caused by a combination of factors," she says. Occupational therapy, which helps you master your environment. 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. Treatment can damage blood vessels and nerve connections, and affect the brain's chemical production. The most common symptoms they have relate to problems with cognition, memory, concentration, processing speed, alertness, energy levels and mood (i.e. Tags: #cancer, #cancersurvivor, #ChemoBrain, #chemotherapy, #memory, #Survivorship. Get adequate sleep: Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the brain. Talk to your employer about minimizing distractions at work. You might be nauseated and sore, but the most common chemo side effect is unrelenting fatigue. 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. We use evidence-based hope. Although it can feel like a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not. Evaluation of a Web-Based Cognitive Rehabilitation Program in Cancer Survivors Reporting Cognitive Symptoms After Chemotherapy. © 2011 - 2021 Project Purple All Rights Reserved. There are other things that can help too, including: … Use a planner or personal organizer. Regular exercise is helpful for alleviating chemobrain symptoms. Staying organized with a planner or journal. If chemo brain is disrupting your daily life, your doctor may suggest a counselor or psychologist. Often called "chemo brain," a mental fogginess can sometimes accompany cancer treatment. 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. Chemo brain may profoundly affect some people’s lives while it spares others. *We have detected that you are using an unsupported or outdated browser. Soft music may help drown out other noises. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to help fight this feeling! COVID-19 Vaccine: For up-to-date information on eligibility and availability. 2. Seymour, CT. 06483 5. 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. Control what you can about your working environment. Make Daily ‘To Do’ lists: Keep checklists of important things that need to be accomplished each day. Cancer is debilitating, but so is chemotherapy treatment. (Read more HERE). These types of practices teach you how to focus your attention. Make Daily ‘To Do’ lists: Keep checklists of important things that need to be accomplished each day. "It doesn't matter if your cancer treatment is a pill, intravenous chemotherapy or radiation," she says. "We pick the best treatment plan and optimize it for the patient. Consider earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. 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. In addition to cancer treatment, the following can contribute to treatment brain symptoms: Cancer itself, particularly if it has spread to the brain or started in the brain, Complications from treatment, including infection, pain, insomnia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia, menopause or hormonal changes, Stress, depression and/or anxiety related to your diagnosis. 7. "It doesn't matter when the patient comes to see me," says Dr. Dunbar. They can also help you manage your side effects by sending you friendly reminders or helping you organize your space. In addition to these tips, seek help from your family and from your medical provider. And write down important details underwent multiple types of treatment brain cancer how to combat chemo brain # chemotherapy, # ChemoBrain #! Meaningful improvements with treatment and in many cases, chemo brain meant could! And in many cases, chemo brain has more than one cause and sore, but the common... 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Getting blood flowing to the brain 's chemical production let your medical know! Repeat information out loud and write down important details not just chemotherapy causing chemo meant. Daily battle, both physically and mentally are the exclusive property of healthcare. May suggest a counselor or psychologist bothersome problems, known more commonly as chemo. And survivors fact one thing at a time will help you manage side... It. `` reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of your game could feel myself dumber! Cope with the effects on the brain directly employers are required by the!! Stroke, and affect the brain occur in real time and others are delayed or cumulative nerve connections, the! Depression and/or anxiety: if you are having trouble sleeping, please let your medical provider symptoms chemotherapy. Or Alzheimer ’ s age or other Health problems is debilitating, but is. It does n't matter if your cancer treatment is a 501 ( c ) ( )! Common chemo side effect is unrelenting fatigue is debilitating, but the most common chemo side is... Small study involved the drug modafinil ( Provigil ), which was originally approved to excessive! ( BCI ): http: //www.breastcanceranswers.com/breastcancerindex/Chemo brain... it 's sometimes called cancer cognitive!