- Question from Julie: What are some clues that you have chemo brain? Is it losing your train of thought or is it not being able to concentrate? Please give me some info. Thanks.
- Answers - Christina Meyers All of the above. It is sometimes losing your train of thought, it's sometimes blocking on words. It is sometimes being distractible, having trouble multitasking. Those are all potential symptoms.
- George Sledge, M.D. Are numeracy issues something you see?
- Christina Meyers Yes, holding things in your head, like doing mental calculations, might be difficult. I have clients who are nurses who might have to calculate a dose of medication per kilogram of body weight, who used to be able to do it in their heads and now can't. You can't take in the load of information you previously did, so you miss stuff and get it slower. People tell me it takes more time and effort to do than for normal people. But given enough time, they still do it — they can be quite functional and do everything in appearance just as they used to, but the person knows there is an increased effort and increased cost.
- George Sledge, M.D. One thing that I observe in the clinic not uncommonly is that the patient's perception of how she's doing and the perception of other people is not the same.
- Christina Meyers They are maintaining their level of function, but they know the cost internally. Which is one of the reasons it may have been blown off as a syndrome — they may not be losing their jobs over it, but they know.
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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