Monday, November 8, 2010

Chemo Fog is a Serious Bummer

Chemo fog aka chemo brain aka cognitive dysfunction aka post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment ...

Whatever you call it, it sucks. Chemo fog refers to the memory problems cancer survivors experience after chemotherapy treatments. Approximately 20-30% of chemo patients end up with chemo fog. According to Mayo Clinic, very little is understood about this bizarre condition. According to, scientists have attributed the following cognitive changes to chemo treatments:
  • Word finding. You might find yourself reaching for the right word in conversation.
  • Memory. You might experience short-term memory lapses, such as not remembering where you put your keys or what you were supposed to buy at the store.
  • Multitasking. Many jobs require you to manage multiple tasks during the day. Multitasking is important at work as well as at home — for example, talking with your kids and making dinner at the same time. Chemotherapy may affect how well you’re able to perform multiple tasks at once.
  • Learning. It might take longer to learn new things. For example, you might find you need to read paragraphs over a few times before you get the meaning.
  • Processing speed. It might take you longer to do tasks that were once quick and easy for you.
If you are close to someone who is going through chemo, or recovering from treatments, be sensitive to this issue. They are most likely aware that something's not up to snuff, but for the time being, they are relatively helpless over it. Ginkgo biloba is a natural memory enhancer, and may be a useful dietary supplement for those suffering the dreaded chemo fog.

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