- Question from Camber: What you describe is what I experience, but I have never had chemotherapy. For three cancers, I've had four major and about a dozen minor surgeries with anesthesia and medications. So, is the chemo brain effect only from chemotherapy, or the other chemicals that are put into our bodies as well?
- Answers - Christina Meyers That is a very interesting question. All our studies in all types of cancer show about a third of people have cognitive deficit which is likely related to the body's reaction to the cancer itself. So the cancer itself can do it. Surgery and anesthesia can both contribute too.
- George Sledge, M.D. There was a recent publication that looked at baseline cognitive dysfunction before a woman ever receives chemotherapy. Women who had ductal carcinoma in situ had less dysfunction than women who had stage I or II, and that raises the question of whether the cancer itself causes the symptoms.
- Christina Meyers There are a lot of unanswered questions, but about a third of people experience these symptoms without chemotherapy.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Managing Chemo Brain featured Christina Meyers, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. and George Sledge, M.D. answering your questions about how long chemo brain can last, what treatments can be helpful, and current research on cognitive effects of breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2008.
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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