One of the most distressing problems cancer patients may face, both during and after treatment, is "chemobrain," or "chemofog" â the inability to focus, concentrate, remember, or simply think as well as they did before their cancer diagnosis.
is often at its worst for the first few years after a cancer diagnosis, but it can persist for 5, 10, or even more than 20 years after treatment.
There have been some estimates that it occurs in up to 50 percent ofÂ breast cancerpatients, but I suspect it is much higher than that.
No Single Causeâ¦
It has been extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of chemobrain. Chemotherapy, lack of estrogen, chemical changes within the body caused by the cancer or the treatment, distress, anxiety, insomnia, and inactivity have all been implicated, but to date, no one of these can be singled out as the common denominator or sole cause of chemobrain.
Most likely there are multiple causes in any one person.
â¦and No Perfect Fix
There is also no known way of effectively treating chemobrain. Interventions such as medications, relaxation techniques, brain training or brain exercises, as well as physical activity have all been tried. To date, none of the medications have made a definitive change, nor have relaxation techniques.
There is some evidence that women who do regular,Â moderate exerciseÂ starting from the time of diagnosis may do better. Similarly, cognitive training techniques, such as word puzzles and games, may be of some benefit.
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