Memory loss from chemo or aging?


Question from RebeccaH: I went through dose-dense chemotherapy (Adriamycin [chemical name: doxorubicin] and Cytoxan [chemical name: cyclophosphamide] plus Taxotere [chemical name: docetaxel] or Taxol [chemical name: paclitaxel]) at the age of 43. Now, 3 years out, I am still blaming chemotherapy for my memory loss. Is it time for me to start blaming my age or is chemotherapy still the culprit?
Answers - Christina Meyers It's very clear that these symptoms can last for a long time, maybe forever. It probably is related to your treatment, because you don't age that dramatically to have that big an effect. Blowing it off at all is not really helpful. The truth is, going through cancer and cancer treatment is a process that takes a bite out of you. It's taken something out of you — it's handleable, but it's there.
George Sledge, M.D. As a physician, I hate blaming things on age! Not just because I’m aging, but when doctors blame things on age, they tend to miss things that are treatable and reversible.
Christina Meyers That's why it's important to get a diagnostic workup and not assume you're older or depressed or fatigued. That's not a diagnostic workup, and that's not helpful.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Chemo Brain. Christina Meyers, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. and George Sledge, M.D. answered your questions about how long chemo brain can last, what treatments can be helpful, and current research on cognitive effects of breast cancer treatment.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. 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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