Chemo brain, also known as Chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction/impairment or chemo fog, is an unofficial term used to describe the brain problems that take place after cancer treatment. Cancer survivors constantly complain about the cloudiness of the brain after chemotherapy treatment,a side effect caused by cancer. Some people think that chemotherapeutic treatment causes chemo brain, but this assumption might not be true. Research is still undergoing as to the cause of the change in brain function in cancer survivors. In this article, we discuss chemo brain symptoms and chemo brain therapy to provide you with a better understanding of chemo brain and the misconceptions surrounding it.
CAUSES OF CHEMO BRAIN
Some of the causes of chemo brain are depression, tiredness, low blood count, the patient’s age, depression, stress & anxiety, infection, sleep problems, nutritional deficiencies, the drugs used during surgery and even the surgery itself, other illnesses, and cancer itself. Notwithstanding the cause, chemo brain can cause different types of damage and frustration to the patients. It is very likely that patients suffer from chemo brain if recently treated for cancer. Research and scientific studies show that cancer treatments greatly contribute to massive brain changes. Born from all types of chemotherapy treatment whether breast or brain cancer, the effects of chemotherapy treatment massively impacts the patient’s health. The medical factors that tend to increase brain fog are:
● Radiation therapy
● Direct chemotherapy to the nervous system
● Whole brain radiation combined with chemotherapy
CHEMO BRAIN SYMPTOMS
People who undergo brain fog have certain symptoms like forgetfulness, low concentration span, difficulty in remembering little details such as names, dates,significant events, words, inability to multitask, and slowness.
Chemo brain symptoms starts during or after treatment. There are many cases where chemo brain symptoms begin during treatment and worsen after the treatment. The length of time Chemo brain symptoms lasts vary from patient to patient. While chemo brain symptoms fade away immediately after treatment for some patients,it takes a year or more to fade away for others. The malfunction in the brain for cancer patients may occur from hormonal treatment or after surgery, especially with short term symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms take longer to manifest. Patients should therefore be kept under close watch by a friend or relatives and should always go for regular checkups..
EFFECT OF CHEMO BRAIN
Chemo brain causes loss of memory and brain impairment. This affects a patient’s daily life including their relationships with friends and family.They suffer from intermittent mood swings, depression and can easily forget names. This poses a challenge to daily routines in work, school and at home. Brain fog patients lose concentration easily and the ability to multitask.
WHAT IS THE EXISTING CHEMO BRAIN THERAPY?
There hasn’t been a way to completely eliminate chemo brain but patients benefit from chemo brain therapy, which reduces the impact of choke brain. Based on multifaceted causes and how chemo brain symptoms and effects vary from patient to patient, there’s no standard therapy that has emerged for the treatment of chemo brain. Chemo brain therapy that has helped patients over the years include:
Day to day activities like:
● Engaging in regular exercises
● Using your smartphone or a daily planner as a reminder for things they need to remember
● Keeping the same daily schedule and routines
● Getting enough sleep and rest
● Focusing on one task at a time
● Eating fruits and vegetables
● Carrying out brain exercises
● Trying not to focus on chemo brain and its effects
● Noticing and keeping track of brain malfunctions and how it affects the patient.
Having conversations with family, friends, the doctor or cancer care team about the issues you’re having:
Sometimes, cancer survivors may seem aloof or have less cohesive mannerisms. They should speak with someone about their experiences, such as with their doctor, to strategize and find a solution. Patients should ask these questions to their doctors so that they can better understand the situation:
● Is there any available treatment for the symptoms?
● What can I do to prevent chemo brain?
● Do I need it to see a specialist? If yes, can you recommend one for me?
What are the possible medical problems that could cause these chemo brain symptoms?
Every patient’s case is treated uniquely. Once chemo brain persists in a patient, it’s important to perform a brain SPECT imaging test to analyze his or her brain functions. Patient’s can also undergo therapeutic lifestyle changes to increase their probability of improving, such as
● Increasing specific nutrients and nutrition
● Taking medication
● Doing therapy
● Receiving some form of IV therapy
● Receiving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
● Having Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Chemo Brain therapy is a condition that can be overcome to lead a healthy life. At Springfield Wellness, we take ,time not just for you, the patient, but for your family. Our medical team will give you all of the help and support that needs you undergo your chemo brain treatment with us. For more information, please visit www.springfieldwellness.com.