Does chemo brain affect intellect?


Question from Bev: I'm assuming that just because you have chemo brain, it doesn't necessarily affect your intellect. Is this correct?
Answers - Christina Meyers Yes, it is correct. It does not affect your intellect, problem solving, talent, skill, etc. It affects your efficiency and, depending on what kind of job you have, how efficiency matters makes it more or less a problem. So let's say you're a person who can do their job without a lot of time pressure — it may not have much impact. If you're in a job with a lot of time pressure or pressures that might tap into your inefficiency, like an attorney in a courtroom and you have to think quickly on your feet, that could be a real problem. So it depends on what the demands are on you in your life.
George Sledge, M.D. I had a lawyer as a patient who expressed exactly the issues just stated after her chemotherapy. For her it was disabling and she lost her job because she couldn't do what she used to do.
Christina Meyers A lot of these clients are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so employers have to offer reasonable accommodation. But if you are a trial lawyer, you may be disabled. But that person is still very smart and skillful, so there may be another venue where that person can work that can overcome the difficulties they are having. So I work with employers to see how we can deal with issues like this.

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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