Chemo brain forever after 10 treatments?

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Question from TimKim: I had invasive ductal carcinoma and ovarian cancer, with six treatments of Cytoxan/Adriamycin/5FU for the breast cancer, and four treatments of Taxotere [chemical name: docetaxel] and carboplatin [brand name: Paraplatin] for the ovarian cancer. How long will chemo brain affect me? I am 42 and it aggravates me when I know what I want to say but can't get the words to come out right. Is this a forever thing?
Answers - Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. It sounds like you have had a lot of treatment for two cancers and that's a lot to go through. I also assume because of your ovarian cancer that you are postmenopausal surgically for treatment of this cancer. Surgical menopause (removal of the ovaries) leads to very extreme symptoms that are more severe than the normal onset of menopause or even the chemotherapy-induced menopause that I described earlier. Some of the problems you are having in finding words may be related to estrogen loss. Like I said earlier, difficulty in finding words is commonly experienced as a result of menopause and hopefully your brain will adjust to the new hormone environment your brain is functioning in.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Thinking and Memory Challenges featured Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. and  moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the memory and concentration challenges that can happen during and after breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in August 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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