Chemotherapy: Can It Negatively Affect Your Brain?
Even though medical doctors haven’t been able to link ‘chemo brain’ to just one cause, it doesn’t make it less real or frustrating. Whether treated for breast cancer or brain cancer, chemotherapy can have a lasting impact even after treatment. The effects on the brain can cause disruptions to daily life and relationships, and it can make maintaining work and home life very challenging. As for recovery, some patients get back to normal within a few months and some don’t see improvement for years.
If you are undergoing or have undergone chemotherapy, it is possible that you may suffer from chemo brain.
What Is ‘Chemo Brain?’
Chemo Brain is the unofficial term used by cancer patients and survivors to describe the memory and cognitive problems they experience as they undergo, or after they have completed, cancer treatment. Some people call it chemo brain fog.
Doctors and scientists may refer to it as chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment or chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction. Despite the many descriptions, you are expressing the reality that your brain after chemo and cancer treatment might simply feel damaged.
Symptoms of Chemo Brain:
• Memory problems
• Difficulty concentrating, multitasking or learning new things
• Short attention span
• An overall feeling of mental murkiness
Chemo Brain is a Result of Many Factors
There is no one cause of chemo brain, even though it may sound like it’s simply due to chemotherapy. In the fight against the disease, cancer patients don’t typically get chemotherapy alone; it is usually accompanied by many other therapies, including surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and immunotherapy, all of which can have an effect on the brain. At the same time, each patient has his or her own mix of risk factors contributing to the probability of chemo brain, such as the type of cancer he or she is fighting, age when diagnosed, stress, sleep deprivation, nutritional deficiencies and preexisting conditions. These factors can work together to affect a cancer patient’s brain health and function.
Treatment for Chemo Brain
Many patients suffering with chemo brain come to Amen Clinics for help. Due to multifaceted causes and variability from person to person, no one treatment has emerged in conventional medicine to treat chemo brain in a standard way.
Generally, patients are encouraged to:
• Eat well
• Exercise their bodies
• Apply their brains to challenging tasks – all good things for any brain.
Our approach to every patient is to treat his or her case uniquely, which is really the only way that chemo brain should be handled. When someone is struggling with persistent chemo brain, we will often order brain SPECT imaging to get insight into what areas of the brain are functioning normally and what areas are not.
We have found that chemo brain can benefit from therapeutic lifestyle changes such as:
• Brain and body exercises
• Targeted nutrition and nutrients
• Progressive alternative treatments such as:
• Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and
• Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
• Even some forms of IV Therapy
Chemo Brain Help
At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome memory issues, brain fog, and other emotional and cognitive issues. We’d love to speak with you today, give us a call at 1-888-288-9834 or click here to ask a question.