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