You don’t have to spend very long with a group of breast cancer survivors before you hear one of them mention chemobrain even if it is just a throw-away line used to excuse a memory lapse. While these symptoms, such as easily becoming distracted or having difficulty remembering names and words, are all-too-familiar to many survivors, they often have been dismissed by medical professionals. But now, thanks to researchers who took these concerns seriously, we’ve got two recently published papers that clearly substantiate survivors experiences.

The first study, which was published in the Archives of Neurology in November 2011 was conducted at Stanford University and used the Love/Avon Army of Women to recruit! The Stanford research team used functional MRI imaging to compare the brain images of healthy women and women with breast cancer. The study was not large; it included 25 survivors who had received chemotherapy, 19 survivors who had only had surgery, and 18 healthy controls who were matched for age, educational level, and menopausal status. It focused on executive functions (cognitive processes, such as planning mental flexibility, and working memory) and the women were all tested on verbal fluency, problem solving, and attention. In addition, each study volunteer was asked to assess her own cognitive abilities. The study found that not only did brain activity differ between healthy controls and cancer survivors, but that those survivors who had undergone chemotherapy had additional specific differences and decreases in executive function.

The second study, which was published online in December in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was conducted in the Netherlands. This research team’s well-designed study enrolled premenopausal women with breast cancer and compared their cognitive complaints, brain function, and MRIs before initiating and after completing chemotherapy. The researchers also compared these women to similar women with breast cancer who did not have chemotherapy, and healthy women not being treated for cancer. As would be expected, the breast cancer patients reported more depressive symptoms at baseline (after diagnosis and before treatment) but otherwise the three groups were the same.

When the researchers repeated the tests three-to-four months later the two control groups (the breast cancer patients who had not had chemotherapy and the healthy women) actually did better on attention and concentration as well as memory and processing speed, most likely because they were familiar with the testing the second time. However, the women who had been treated with chemotherapy had declines in all areas, which matched their self-reported experiences and their brain imaging.

This information is exciting because we now have solid data to support what women have been saying about chemobrain it’s real! Now the hard work begins: sorting out whether it is true for everyone; whether we can we predict who and what drugs specifically cause it; and learning if it gets better over time or whether women just learn to adapt.

Obviously some women need chemotherapy to save their lives, but often it is given just in case.  Studies like these need to be balanced with a realistic assessment of chemotherapy’s value in each specific woman. And as my colleague, Dr. Patricia Ganz wrote in her editorial on the subject: We can no longer deny the existence of this long-term effect of cancer treatment; we must work to tailor future treatments to minimize this adverse outcome.

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49 Responses to Chemobrain: Is it All in Your Head?

  1. Pam says:

    This is timely news…the past few days with slightly less sleep, I feel like I have tinnitus of the mind! I’ve noticed such a difference in my ability to multitask and organize, even though it’s been 3 1/2 years since I had chemo.

  2. AnneMarie says:

    Validation is wonderful. I appreciate the way you explained each of these recent studies. To Pam, I am approaching the 5 year post chemo mark and I still struggle with multi-tasking and organization, too. I joke around that my checking my “to do” list is on another more important “to do list” …. One thing is for sure, a sense of humor helps on those really “dumb” days! I stopped beating myself up if I can’t motivate myself. I just do what I can.

  3. Lisa says:

    I knew it wasn’t “all in my head.” Well, I guess it is/was. Prior to chemo, I could remember names, phone numbers, grocery lists, etc. Now, I must write everything down. I am easily distracted whereas before I was very focused and organized. My ability to multi-task is gone.

  4. Carol says:

    I LOVE this article! I always talked about chemo brain but no one believed me! Everyone was quick to make fun of me for tasks forgotten half way through at work, or sentences that went unfinished because I lost my train of thought. I was so proud of myself to finally get my book “it is what it is…beating breast cancer using chemo radiation and email” published! I wrote it at the height of chemo brain which was asbout 2-2 1/2 yrs. I had the same written in 3 places, the same scenario with 2 different outcomes….it was a nightmare. But in the end it all came together. I have to admit 6 years later? I still sometimes blame forgotten things/trains of thought on chemo brain. Im just glad to know that someone out there “gets” it for all of us BC survivors! Thank you :)

  5. Lou says:

    This is good news to validate those experiencing “chemobrain”. I have been post chemo for approximately 11 years. My cognitive functioning declined. I can’t remember details, facts, names, etc…things that were second nature to me before. I was good at recall and information.

    I sometimes get a block trying to remember my son’s name at times! I have to talk to myself more for auditory cues to help me remember things and stay on task, and no…I am not “crazy” and talking to myself does help! writing notes and lists and post-it notes all over is the only way I survive. I often at work have to go over certain details of things I do daily because I get a block or just struggle to retain repetitive/routine things. It is not severe but it is enough that truly is bothersome to me. I do blame it on the chemo :)

    Thanks for sharing this research. I was diagnosed at age 31 and I am now 44….it has been a long haul! Thank goodness I have been cancer free and that is the only “kudos” I can give to having the chemotherapy treatments! I honestly have no regrets!

  6. Lisa B says:

    I am 9+ years post chemo for breast cancer and have had the same problem! I stop mid sentence and cannot think of a word!! I have to try to define what word I am looking for to have someone else come up with the word! It has not stopped me though! I have gone to nursing school and am now getting my MSN online! It is very frustrating though! But, being cancer free is worth this side effect. Hopefully we can prevent it in the future though.

  7. Nancy says:

    I am 20 years post chemo and my brain still suffers.

  8. Linda says:

    Menopause caused enough lapses in brain functions but then I underwent chemo. I worked HARD to defeat the signs. I wore myself out trying not to forget ANYTHING. Finally I had enough. I learned that if I gave the gray matter some time, thoughts, names, etc would come back.I have often told folk,”Give me a few minutes to bring this back into reach.” This approach has helped considerably. I truly believe it’s not gone…it’s just buried under cells attacked by chemo. And yes, writing it down helps BUT, stick the note in your pocket or you’ll most assuredly lose it.BTW I’m 4 years post chemo and was diagnosed with DCIS in same breast last May.I had a double mastectomy 4 weeks ago and am progressing well. I swore I’d NEVER subject myself to chemo again.

  9. It’s not just chemotherapy that causes “chemo brain.” I had the same symptoms from radiation, which is seldom studied in this area. When I complained to my doctors that I who had always been the ultimate multitasker could only make one thing at a time for dinner, was overwhelmed with many choices, and couldn’t remember to turn things off and all the symptoms we experience, they told me they had never heard of that with radiation. When I was writing my book “Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey,” I discovered studies of breast cancer survivors who had radiation who experienced ‘chemo brain.” In my book, I give suggestions for how to retrain your brain… they worked for me but I still occasionally have lapses of memory.

  10. Sunita Parmar says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this informaton. I was diagnosed at the age of 45 in December 2009 with breast cancer, and completed all my treatments in February 2011.
    I still stop mid sentence, and sometimes have such a hard time remembering words I’ve been using for all these years, simple words…
    I knew it was chemo brain and not ‘old age’!!!
    Thank you so much for making me feel better about myself despite everything chemo has put me through.

  11. Heathet says:

    Thank you for sharing this . I’m 35 and 18 months post chemo. Chemo brain has affected me terribly, and my frustration with it and myself brings me to tears sometimes.

  12. Pam says:

    I decided yesterday to keep a diary like I used to as a kid…but with a different purpose. I’ll write down basically what I did each day that was of note, and then if someone asks me and I don’t remember, I can look it up!

  13. Megan says:

    Thanks, Dr. Love, for posting this. I’m 10 years past chemo, and although the brain fog has gotten better over time, I, like others who have posted, sometimes can’t think of the word… what’s that thing I go through to get from one room to another? The door! Of course! I’m glad medicine has finally decided that we’re not crazy. At least not in regards to chemo brain.

  14. Colleen says:

    What are the potential impacts for employers who might be hesitant to hire someone post-chemo? Each of us has different impacts, and recoveries from the assaults on our bodies in trying to fight for our lives.

    And what about other chemo treatments – is it chemo in general or the drugs for breast cancer?

  15. Deb says:

    Thank you Dr. Love for posting results of recent research regarding “chemo brain”. I also have episodes of forgetfulness which is embarrassing. Because of these episodes of memory lapse, I at times, avoid social interactions which may require close attentiveness and responses. This is disturbing to me as I am having a difficult time dealing with these obvious changes in my congnitive and excutive functioning. I am even fearful of challenging myself to learn new things, such as continuing education. It will be 1 year post chemo, Jan 11 th and it is not getting any better :(

  16. Jen says:

    So we all know we have it, but the next question is……what will happen in the future? Are we more susceptible to Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other illnesses?

  17. Jennifer B. says:

    I was diagnosed in June, 2011. I am 38yrs old. I had 8 roundd of tough chemo and “chemo brain” is definitely real. I see a behavioral psychiatrist who has written some articles on chemo brain.
    Jennifer

  18. Ann says:

    I’m curious as to how researchers separate the effects of menopause from the effects of chemo when they do these studies. So often, women are being treated for breast cancer at the same time that they are experiencing menopausal symptoms. For me, I was experiencing changes in my memory from menopause and those symptoms were exacerbated by the chemo (ACT) that I received for breast cancer in 2009. However, now, two years later, I do not feel as though I am any worse off than I was when I started the chemo, although definitely worse off than I was as a young pre-menopausal woman. I know that a couple of my sisters, who went into surgical menopause (family BRCA-1 mutation), have been struggling with these same kinds of symptoms, without ever receiving chemo. So, how do researchers separate these symptoms?

  19. Pam B. says:

    As I read the other comments, I cried. I have been terrified that my dad’s dementia was happening to me. Now I can see that it was the drugs that made me feel like I had zoned out…some days worse than others. Tamoxifen made it worse. It’s been 3 years since I was diagnosed and and 1 1/2 since the last surgery. Arimidex is making life easier, but I still struggle. God love my husband!

  20. Travelgal says:

    Hi there, I found this info. on my facebook and just checked in to see if the “chemobrain” problem was only for those who were just fininshed with Chemo. I saw several of you who were a little farther out than me still having problems with this. Sorry to hear that I am not loosing my mind here..I am almost 4 yrs out and still have this problem at times. Does it ever ever go away?? Thanks to all of you for sharing.

  21. Karen says:

    12 years ago, at age 54, I underwent intensive-dose chemo, stem cell trsnsplant, and 18 radiation treatments. Due to major cognitive decline following my treatment, I found myself unable to function in my previous position as charge RN, and reluctantly gave up a career I had loved for 30+ years, and was placed on disability. Some 9 years after treatment, I began noticing some lessening of symptoms, however my mathmatical skills and recall capabilities remain markedly compromised.

  22. Melanie says:

    I too knew this was real and have been waiting for the science to catch up. I have volunteered for any clinicial trial on chemo brain I hear of, but haven’t qualified due to distance…but am glad to see the results starting to be published. I am 53, and eleven years post-chemo (A&C and Taxol) and still suffer significant deficits. I recently underwent cognitive testing that confirmed my subjective experience, and am starting in on some therapies after years of people joking this problem off. Please help spread the word on this science and help fund research into therapies to help.

  23. Lunakin says:

    Looking forward to seeing studies on the cognitive s/es of aromatase inhibitors. Or maybe it’s the fatigue from AIs that gives so many of us foggy brains.

  24. NIkki Fiske says:

    I am almost 10 years in recovery and I just stopped meds after 5 years of tamoxifen and 1/2 years of arimedex. I also noticed that I lose words and whole phrases and that I lose my train of thought. My dad has dementia so I have been very nervous. This article makes me feel better. What kind of brain retraining have some people mentioned?

  25. NIkki Fiske says:

    Sorry – 4 1/2 years on arimedex. My 4 sticks on my computer.

  26. AnneMarie says:

    I have been following these comments because it helps to hear what others are experiencing. I began searching for information about chemobrain and I believe I joined the Army of Women because I stumbled upon a study they were helping to fill. I began blogging when I realized doing anything with numbers was becoming increasingly more difficult. The combination of numbers, details and deadlines along with a few interruptions per hour became impossible.

    I did have “brain training” as part of a clinical study. From what I see, there are a number of different things being investigated to see what might be helpful. I went for an evaluation with a neuropsychologist who identified “problem areas mostly with numbers.” I am five years post chemo, I continue to take an AI (now 4 1/2 years) and my symptoms appear to be longer term and some newer issues are later onset. My “training” was using a specific software program geared to help with “working memory” ….. I’ve learned there is a difference between working memory, short term memory and long term memory.

    While I do realize there is a certain amount of memory decline associated with age and hormone changes, I am stubborn about accepting these things are playing anything more than a minority role in my own issues. I am still assisting the person to whom I transitioned my accounting job. There are days when I can function JUST LIKE THE PAST. I can bounce between tasks, I can stay focused, run through calculations in my head and put in a ten hour day. I can also tell the difference between a “word drop” and one of those “it’s on the tip of my tongue” things that everyone experiences.

    I find it terribly frustrating when people say, “What’s my excuse, I didn’t have chemo?” and brush my frustrations aside. There are very few people with whom I will actually talk about this because that can be a bit irritating and somewhat condescending to hear those statements.

    When two different doctors told me to stop lamenting over the things I can no longer do and try to stay focused on what I CAN do, I found it much easier to live with this situation. I can still write…. some days it requires dozens of edits…. but, mostly, I can write.

    That’s the rest of my story (my original response was the 2nd comment on this blog). To Nikki: I was provided with “CogMed” software to train my working memory. However, it was part of a study and the researchers are not sure if it will help with breast cancer patients. There are days I feel my number recall is improved, but the memory training doesn’t address my ability to stay on task. The whole issue seems to be be quite complex!

  27. angela colvin says:

    I’m glad to have this confirmed…even though i have bi polar and have for years, my memory and functionality has been greatly reduced…i know it even if no one else does…i can’t remember anything unless i write it down on calendar, even really important things, such as dr appts,etc…i can’t find much motivation to finish tasks, i forget things within minutes of hearing it, i sometimes even forget where i’m going while driving, i forget how to get somewhere i’ve gone many times, i forget dates very badly…thanks for confirming what i already knew…
    angela

  28. Karen says:

    I am coming up on 6 years since Dx…5 1/2 years since finishing chemo and going on 2 years since stopping AI’s….cognitive functioning is definitely better off the AI’s but I’m no where to where I was before Dx…I’m 55….the typical response I get is well your X years older, your menopausal and on and on…..these two studies confirm what I know in my heart…now the question for those of us who have endured all these horrendous treatments, is what treatments (and non noxious treatments) are there to get us back to our pre Dx selves.

  29. Susan says:

    So interesting to read what is going on in research, and some questions/comments on this site are really good.
    Wondering if research will be following: comparing chemo-brain of those on chemotherapy/ vs. endocrine such as aromatase inhibitors/ and/or both;
    Studies on whether pts would be more susceptible to dementia/alzheimer and at earlier ages;
    How this information might be a problem with employers;
    Is there a gradual improvement (after many years after treatment) and if so, which women would improve and who would not.
    What do they have in common or what is different (length of treatment/ stage of cancer/ varying therapies?) Does metastatic mean increased chemo-brain?
    Glad to hear that we are not “imagining” chemobrain!

  30. Catherine says:

    Many thanks, yet again, to Dr. Love for her book (The Breast Book). It was through the book that I read about Oncotype DX and demanded it be run. Sure enuf; very low recurrence score (4). My first oncologist was simply going to send me on to chemo. Thank goodness I’m a researcher for a living! But what about all those women who aren’t? I don’t think i could function as a science writer with chemo brain.

  31. Mary says:

    When chemo was recommended to me almost 6 years ago, I expressed concern about chemo brain. The oncologist dismissed it out of hand. I felt this was a rather callous attitude given the many who complained about it. I subsequently refused the treatment as I felt my poor tortured body had gone through quite enough, thank you. I have not, for one minute, regretted my decision. It isn’t just chemo brain there are a host of other nasty issues that can go along with chemo, Herceptin and the aromatase inhibitors, which I refused, as well. Given my age I decided to go for the quality.

  32. Eileen says:

    I know I must sound repetative, but thank God this information is being published! I too, have followed in the footsteps of “my sisters” with forgetfullness. I always joked about chemobrain but what a relief to know I am not alone. What I am now facing after being finished with treatment for 5 years is chemo related cardiomyopathy. Are there any studies on this side effect of chemo?

  33. ann vincent says:

    I was one of the “subjects” for the Stanford study. (Facilitated by this site’s recruitment efforts!) I am now 7 years out from diagnosis and chemoRx. (Also radiation and hormones.) My chemobrain was obvious and devastating, and so I was eager to participate. The testing and MRI’s helped confirm what I already knew…my brain had been permanently zapped… and my struggle with multi-tasking and word retrieval and memory was not my imagination or of my own control. I have tried some of the on-line brain programs, and am now taking an Rx. (dexmethylphenidate) daily, so that I can at least try to stay “on task” with daily goals. The bottom line…. I am angry to have been left with this brain disability that nobody told me would result from treatment. The “7%” improved survival (statistically) that was accomplished with the chemo was not an appropriate justification to have given me a partial lobotomy. I am very angry that patients are not given full disclosure about this possibility… even if oncologists believe that they might be saving lives. We deserve to know the truth, and we deserve to choose for ourselves. I believe that many people in oncology have known the truth about this situation for a very long time, but have deliberately obscured the truth and minimized it, because the truth might discourage people from participating in available “treatments”. Clearly… we have needed to demand better modes of treatment for a long time. Systemic chemotherapy that can render us “brain damaged” is not the answer!

  34. Suzy says:

    Although this information is valuable to all of us who suffer from chemo brain, I worry that it will be used against women in the workplace. Should we be writing legislation that states that a woman cannot be discriminated against for having gone through chemotherapy treatment? If chemo brain is valid, then aren’t we saying that we are now less competent than before chemo? Dangerous, slippery slope that needs to be managed, I’m afraid.

  35. ann vincent says:

    To Suzy above: There are already laws “on the books” regarding disability/work discrimination. But as long as oncologists refuse to acknowledge the problem publicly, there will be no offers of brain-rehab or employment re-training, or ancillary cognitive follow-up for this significant sequela to chemotherapy. I agree with the others above who have also noted some minor cognitive changes associated with only the radiation or even just menopausal influence. But the cognitive changes that some of us have experienced in the aftermath of chemo (particularly the heavy-duty “dose dense” blasts of this decade)are extremely profound! Many women are now devastated to find themselves unable to perform the skills they trained extensively to acquire, prior to their breast cancer diagnosis. Many careers have been curtailed, and lives have been shattered. This is not the time to pretend the situation doesn’t exist… because we are afraid of discrimination.

  36. Dawn Negleman says:

    I’m relieved (although somewhat saddened)to know that many of us have permanent chemo brain. I was originaly under the impression that chemo brain lasted only a year or two post therapy. I am almost at the 5 year chemo completion mark, and I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I can’t multi task very well and get distracted too easily. I thought I might have adult attention deficit disorder or something. Chemo brain still makes sense though. We all know it damages healthy cells along with cancer cells, (I also have chemo induced heart damage), so why wouldn’t brain cells be affected as well? It’s embarrassing to lose my train of though so often but I do know that my cognitive abilities are much worse when I’m tired. So, I try to get a decent night’s sleep when I know I have a meeting the following day, and I take a mega B vitamin every morning with my daily meds. Not sure if the vitamins really help, but figure they can’t hurt and I definitely feel better. As some women posted earlier, validation that we aren’t ‘crazy’ is extremely uplifitng. As imperfect as I am, I’m just grateful I’m still able to mother my children! Hugs to all the survivors out there!

  37. Pat Mc Andrews Poelker says:

    My Oncologist when prompted about “ChemoBrain” responded that some women do return to their “Normal” brain life and others not….this rings true for many of us. I am 14 post DX and find a certain “Fogginess” to my acuity. I live with it and try to be as alert to life as I can….It is most difficult when trying to maintain a positive attidue, but I do try, daily. I think my menopause was a breeze compared to the CB but, one must live with it until such a time as there is a cure. I also agree with my sisters that our healthcare providers should be more informed about CB…but that’s another story. Be well all.

  38. barb gensler says:

    I know that this is true! What about weak legs and neuropathy of the feet? I get “it wasn’t chemo” everytime I ask a doctor but really, I have my doubts that this is true. Thanks for printing this information.

  39. Trish says:

    I am really glad that there is finally some research being done on the subject of Chemo brain.
    I am 6 years out from original diagnosis and 1 year out from bi- lateral mastectomy due to some new occurrences on the other side….time to cut my losses, I thought.
    The mental effects of the mastectomy are nothing compared to the daily challenges with my cognitive impairment. I went through dose dense AC/Taxol. I was told of most of the side affects that could occur, mostly the heart problems. Not once did the subject of Chemobrain come up.
    I’m post-menopausal, over 50 and having many cognitive challenges…..who knew which was really causing the memory problems at that point, regardless, it’s been a nightmare living which the constant memory lapses.
    It’s caused many an argument in my marriage and many fearful days of what if it’s Alhemiers or dementia….there is no history on my family so I can only guess that the Chemo plays a big part of the problems I experience.
    I’ve gone through depression and try daily to talk myself through it by saying at least I’m here to complain about it!
    Thank you, Dr. Love, for helping me see I’m not alone. Keep up the work on researching this problem or at least bring it to the attention of the physicians administering the drugs that cause it!
    Hang in there ladies, this too will pass.

  40. Mona says:

    So glad to hear this! I had over 3 years of chemo and I have trouble everyday. I’m unable to work because of this. Thankful for the treatment but not the side effects.

  41. Laura Davis says:

    I’m five years post chemo and my brain is nothing like it used to be. For years I’ve lamented the loss as I’m someone whose intellect has been closely tied with my identity and pleasure in life. I loved the feeling of all those brain synapses firing. Just in the past few months, I’ve taken up learning Spanish, just because I wanted to. I have always been a lousy language student and I am not good at it, but I am slowly learning and I can feel my brain coming back to life in a way I never ever thought would happen. And the more I study and work at it, the more my capacity to remember and think comes back. I’ve tried a lot of things, but this is really the first thing that has made a real significant difference.

  42. aiesha says:

    Hi. My name is aiesha, 27 year old medical officer from Malaysia. I was diagnosed with stage 2 left breast carcinoma 5 years ago. I was a medical student back then. Nobody ever mentioned this particular effect of chemotherapy. I was not prepared for it. After I completed my treatment, I went back to medical school and I noticed things in my head was not what it used to be. I was struggling day to day basis to remember new facts and it was so difficult to recall back my clinical skills. It was so frustrating as I was not as intelligent and as sharp as before. I was so devastated and will ended up crying after lectures. One day I came across the term “chemobrain” in one of those medical journal. I was glad that I was not alone in this. I completed my medical school with good result after a hard work of study and practice. Recently I was diagnosed with a new primary, Stage 1 right breast cancer and already completed my third chemotherapy. My last chemo will be due this Wednesday. Even though I am fighting breast cancer for the second time, things are not as different as 5 years ago. After completed my 2nd chemo, I noticed my cognitive function are getting a bit slower. I started to read my medical books and play games a lot to exercise my cognitive function. I wish that doctors who are treating cancer patients would make it a point to mention this chemobrain effect prior commencing chemotherapy. Thank you.

  43. Steph says:

    I was diagnosed in April 2009 at age 44 and finished chemo in October 2009. I guess I was one of the lucky ones: I never had any symptoms of chemo-brain. I was working on a PhD during treatment and was able to complete it on schedule in May 2010. So if anyone is looking to study those of us who didn’t get these symptoms in contrast with those who did, I enthusiastically volunteer!

  44. ann vincent says:

    With the huge response to this issue (so many comments from so many effected people), I would hope that there could be a specific conference or gathering where we could hear from experts and where we could share our personal stories and glean some specific advice. Too many of us have not been successful in obtaining desired information and adequate help for this significant problem.

  45. Fascinating! Well-researched and put-together–and giving a legitimacy (not that I thought they needed one, other than their experiences) to my clients who complained of this phenomenon. Thank you. Candida

  46. Sherry says:

    I am 3 years post chemo and when I saw my oncologist for my last check up he said if things haven’t cleared by now they probably wouldn’t. I had to take disability and give up a job I loved because of it. It is hard interacting with people because I will get lost in a conversation, (luckily) I am hearing impaired so I can often play it off to that so I’m not so embarassed!

  47. Valerie says:

    I too have memory loss and loose my train of thought mid sentence! I”m 5 1/2 years post chemo! Working on an Alzheimers unit as a nurse sometimes I feel like I fit in with my patients! It’s embarrassing when you’re mid sentence and your mind goes blank! I’ve started back exercising hoping more oxygen to the brain will help! Just hope I don’t loose my job ! Post breast cancer lymph edema left arm chemo brain! Well at least I’m still here to look back on it all !!! Still loving life……forgetful oh well!!

  48. Beth says:

    Finally. I have been scrolling on for years, on and off, to see if any studies had been done on this to figure out if I’m still suffering from chemo brain or typical menopause-related symptoms (per Ann’s question above). It’s been 12 years since my chemo (AC) and radiation treatments. The chemo put me into immediate menopause, (at age of 49). For the first few months, I was definitely battling the “fog.” My language and organization skills seemed greatly diminished, and like some others who’ve posted here, I. too, felt like I was suffering from ADHD; I couldn’t focus or multitask as well as I had before. Now, years later, I feel I’ve gained back most of my organizational skills–partly because I had to for my job. But I continue to suffer from short-term memory loss and word retrieval problems–which hasn’t made it easy for my job as a communications director! More frustrating has been that doctors have consistently said that chemo brain doesn’t last so long; that it’s just menopause/my age, and “they have memory loss too.” I don’t want to get into a contest; I just want to know that I’m not making it more than it is…

  49. Very nice point you mention i want to know more about length of treatment and stage of cancer in detail in your next article..thanks..

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