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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Cancer Research Foundation

Cognitive Function After Cancer and Cancer Treatment

In the United States, there are over 15 million cancer survivors, who have benefitted from improvements in cancer screening and definitive chemotherapy treatment. Despite these advancements, the delayed effects from chemotherapy have become progressively concerning to patients. In particular, they have reported symptoms consistent with “chemobrain" or "chemofog," a condition which can involve difficulties with memory, attention, and processing information.

“Chemobrain" or "Chemofog," a condition which can involve difficulties with memory, attention, and processing information.

These impairments can persist for several months following the conclusion of treatment. Initially, the changes may be subtle, but they can further deteriorate. Studies have indicated that chemotherapy alone was the cause of these cognitive impairments, but the combination of hormonal therapy and chemotherapy has also been implicated. There has also been speculation that the damage occurring to the brain is attributed to the body’s inability to repair itself, but the exact mechanisms involved are poorly understood.

7 hours of sleep per night, memory aids, brain teasers are beneficial to patients suffering from cognitive dysfunction.

In patients suffering from cognitive dysfunction following chemotherapy, one may benefit from avoiding multi-task endeavors, obtaining 7 hours of sleep nightly, using memory aids, playing intellectually challenging games (brain teasers), and using calendars or schedule planners.

About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.

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