Dealing With Chemobrain After Surviving Cancer

You’ve undergone chemotherapy and are now a cancer survivor. You find that you are physically and mentally exhausted. You are probably not too surprised at that. After all, you went through a lot during your battle with cancer.

You may be more concerned with the mental deterioration than with the physical exhaustion. You may be constantly in a fog. You may have difficulty concentrating, focusing and remembering things. You may even start to think that you have Alzheimer’s disease. I jokingly used to say, “I have chemobrain”. I don’t know where I picked up that term but I thought it was a non-medical vernacular term.

Did you know that chemobrain is a real medical condition? A recent UCLA study shows that chemotherapy causes changes to the brain’s metabolism and blood. According to that study, chemotherapy patients experience disrupted thought processes and confusion.

Hospitals and cancer organizations are unanimous in recognizing chemobrain as a very real medical condition. Recently oncologist Dr Patricia Ganz received a grant from the National Cancer Institute to conduct a five year study on chemobrain.

Researchers from New York’s University of Rochester found several types of key brain cells were highly vulnerable to the drugs used in chemotherapy. According to Dr Mark Noble of the University of Rochester, “This is the first study that puts chemobrain on a sound scientific footing.”

From the Science Daily, “


Now that we recognize that chemobrain is very real medical condition, what can we do about it? Here are some suggestions:

Establish routines.

Use a daily planner

Exercise your brain. Read, get a hobby, do volunteer work Take some courses.

Get sufficient rest and sleep.

Don’t dwell on your chemobrain symptoms.

Talk to family, friends, and your healthcare team about your chemobrain

Remember, you are not dim-witted or nuts; you have a real side-effect to chemotherapy.

Researchers are also looking at different medications as possible treatments for chemobrain.

After undergoing chemotherapy, you may not want a medicine to treat the side effects of another medicine. Research suggests the following:

Exercise. It’s a known fact that exercise can improve you mood, increase your energy and help your concentration.

A healthy diet.

Certain vitamins and supplements.