Many of the side effects from chemotherapy are well-known. They include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and hair loss. One side effect that may be less well known is a decline in mental function, which includes thinking, memory, language skills, and concentration. It is not clear how or why chemotherapy may affect these skills. Some researchers believe that the drugs may directly enter the brain areas that control these functions.
A lot of research is being done on chemobrain. Doctors are trying to figure out exactly what causes it and what may be done to prevent or treat it. Some studies have shown that people have reported symptoms of chemobrain before even starting treatment. Still others report it even though they have never had chemotherapy; or they notice the problems when they are getting hormonal treatments for cancer. This information is useful for scientists trying to learn more about this problem and any potential treatments.
The impact of chemobrain varies for each person. A loss of memory or concentration can be more disabling for some people than others, depending on their lifestyle and daily use of these functions.
Click here to read more about the effects of ‘chemobrain’ and ways to cope.