Understanding Chemo Brain

What is Chemo Brain?

Chemo brain is a neurological side effect of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy can damage a part of the patient’s nervous system which can result in difficulty with memory and concentration.

There have only been a few studies on the phenomenon, with some showing a mild decline in mental function over time, while other studies indicating no decrease in cognitive abilities after chemotherapy.

When chemo brain is reported by patients they indicate it usually affects long term memory although short term memory change has also been noted by some.

Many patients have indicated the effects of chemo brain wear off after the chemotherapy sessions are complete. However others say it lasts indefinitely.

In the words of one patient, “I just forget a lot, you know? Sometimes when I’m reading, I do a lot of reading and research; I’ll kind of forget what I just read. Kind of like the comprehension thing.”

Since studies have shown different results, more research is needed on what chemo brain is, why it occurs in some people, and what can be done to prevent or reverse it.