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Chemo brain is a problem with thinking and memory that can happen during and especially after chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It can make it hard for you to think, concentrate, and do tasks. You may have trouble remembering things. And you may feel like your brain isn't working right.
It can be frightening to have this happen, especially during an already stressful time. These problems can be mild. But they can be so serious that people have a hard time working or doing their daily activities.
These thinking and memory problems may be caused by chemotherapy medicines used to treat cancer. They could occur because of the cancer itself and maybe because of other medicines used to treat cancer. The anxiety and stress of having cancer also may make it harder to think and remember.
Symptoms vary depending on the person. But you may:
Chemo brain may go away when treatment ends. If your symptoms are mild, they may go away without treatment. If your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may suggest that you see a specialist who is an expert in thinking and memory problems.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Jimmy Ruiz MD - Hematology, Oncology
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