Below are the most common side effects of radiation therapy to the brain. But the term chemo brain … Thank you for writing it! Altering dosing schedules, or even changing medications, can sometimes help alleviate the problem. In reflecting on my chemo brain, I often used what I could or couldn’t do while driving as a gauge to how I was doing. With the exception of my first treatment, I have driven myself to all the rest of chemo treatments, all radiation treatments and all of my Herceptin treatments. Swelling in your brain. Share Your Story, Help Others. ASCO, Where Have You Been? In most cases, your doctor will ask you to get a ride home after your first session to see how you will tolerate the chemo. 1. Acknowledging the reality of chemo brain is a huge and needed start, but there is a long road ahead, according to Dr. Monique Cherrier, research associate professor of psychology at the … Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause problems with cognitive (mental) functions, such as concentration, memory and the ability to multitask. It was very good. And don’t assume that if your first session goes well, there won’t be bumps in the road later down the line. Chemo brain can also be called chemo fog, cancer-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction.Though chemo brain is a widely used term, the causes of concentration and memory problems aren't well-understood. On its own, the fact that you have cancer doesn't make any difference to getting or keeping a driving … Dr. Ahles has been investigating the interplay between … Your Guide to Wigs During Cancer Treatment, How Hormone Therapy Can Help Treat Breast Cancer, What to Do When Diagnosed With Lung Cancer. How Chemotherapy Changes the Way You Think. Cancer plays havoc on your cognition. This is because the symptoms were first linked to chemotherapy. Her perspective of the health care industry changed a bit after she became the patient. Treatment includes learning exercises to teach your brain to do old tasks in new ways. Beyond the chemo brain … Chemo brain was HARD to deal with. By using Verywell Health, you accept our, Consult Your Oncologist Before Starting Chemotherapy, Side Effects Can Affect Judgment, Motor Skills and Vision, Chemotherapy Side Effects: What to Expect, Coping With Hodgkin Disease, From Diagnosis to Survivorship. Can You Drink Alcohol During Chemotherapy Treatment? Visual changes, such as blurred vision or double vision, can also accompany chemotherapy… 2016;23(2):150-6. doi:10.1177/107327481602300209, Ⓒ 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. Chemo brain is a common chemotherapy side effect that affects thinking & mood. After all, if any routine is suddenly affected in a way that can cause harm to you or others, you would avoid it, right? You are not alone! The term “chemo brain” can be misleading. Make contingencies and always use the best judgment to avoid inadvertently hurting yourself or others. The majority of chemo brain symptoms come and go quickly. But changes in memory and concentration can affect people with cancer who have not had chemotherapy. Chemobrain is real! You May Qualify for Accommodatons. Some days can be better than others, and it's good always to have a backup plan. Having cancer could have implications for your driving licence and motor insurance. There are no tests to diagnose chemo brain. Even if cancer is not growing in the brain, it can still disrupt systems in the body that end up affecting mental function. Limiting processed foods and red meats can help ward off cancer risk. I never had an accident... but I came close too often. You can’t remember where your keys are, why you walked into a certain room, or a bunch of other big and little things. It's Time to Recognize Cognitive Issues in Your Patient Consent Document. Learn what might cause it, how long it will last, and what to do about it. Chemotherapy May Not Be Necessary for Certain Breast Cancers, Study Finds, What to Know About Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), Being Prepared for Chemo Can Help Ease Your Worries and Fears, How Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Is Treated. Your doctor will typically tell you is that the side effects of chemotherapy can affect judgment, motor skills, and vision. Read our, Medically reviewed by Douglas A. Nelson, MD, Medically reviewed by Casey Gallagher, MD, Verywell Health uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Chemo brain is most commonly connected with chemotherapy, but other treatments, such as hormone therapy, radiation, and surgery may be associated with it also. These problems were first reported after chemotherapy treatment. Maintaining independence as you go through chemotherapy is an understandable goal. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result. ten Tije, A. Is Chemotherapy Beneficial for Lung Cancer? “Drug-interaction and Formulation Aspects of Taxanes in the Treatment of Cancer.” 2004; 1-168; ISNB 90-9017845-7. For example, researchers first looked at this in women with breast cancer and found that chemotherapy might be the cause. Driving: I should not have been driving. Adel N. Overview of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and evidence-based therapies. Memory Loss After Chemotherapy? So these changes used to be called chemo brain. 2017;23(14 Suppl):S259-S265. 2. What the doctor will advise will depend largely on the type of chemotherapy you are receiving, your current level of functioning, and any other medical conditions you may have. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Lisa Fayed is a freelance medical writer, cancer educator and patient advocate. Some of these can lead to drowsiness, which decreases your response time and can even cause you to fall asleep at the wheel. When chemotherapy or other cancer treatments stop, most people see their chemo brain (and other chemo … The Society offers a special volunteer program called Road to Recovery which provides transportation assistance to those undergoing chemo. If none of these options are available, contact your local American Cancer Society chapter (800-227-2345), who can refer you to local patient transportation services. The need to determine who is most at risk for developing cognitive problems after cancer treatment is driving research in several different ways. 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