Those of you who have been through chemotherapy have probably noticed some changes with your cognitive skills. Those around you have noticed that you now may have problems remembering things. This effect is known as “chemobrain”. Chemobrain describes the difficulty with the cognitive ability of mentally processing or understanding things after chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Trust me folks, I can tell you first hand that this is REAL!
New research was recently conducted with 94 women who had been treated for breast cancer with chemotherapy or radiation for three to six years. The results showed that these cancer treatments may damage the DNA within healthy cells in your body as well as damaging the cancer cells they are meant to fight which can affect mental abilities afterwards. The research discovered that these cancer treatments may be speeding up the effects of aging that would happen naturally, but otherwise at a slower place. The research believes that cancer treatments may be accelerating the aging process and be leading to some of the cognitive difficulties also seen in normal aging.
One researcher who participated in the study states the reason for this impact on cognitive function is not understand and that there are not yet treatments for these side effects but hope in the future there will be. Therefore, it is important to consider when making a decision about the benefits of aggressive treatments versus the risk.. When considering whether or not you are going to accept chemotherapy, you need to be mindful that this may not be the only side effect to expect during and after cancer treatment. You will find after undergoing cancer treatment you will find a “new normal” both mentally and physically.
The next time someone you know who has been through cancer treatment cannot remember something or may have to ask you something more than once, please be patient with that person and remember they are not playing. Depending on the person’s personality you may be able to laugh and joke about it while others you may need to be a lot more sensitive.
As for me…tease me…laugh at me, have a field day with my memory. All because at the end of the day, I am still here and living boldly!