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Chemo Brain- Nothing Forgettable About It

nts and PET scans showing unusual activity in regions of the brain governing short term recall.

Another such suggestion is the rapid onset of menopause after cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy. This fast-forward to menopause without a woman getting time to go through it naturally could be one reason to cognitive problems. Another could be that cognitive issues are the bi-products of anxiety and depression, features that follow cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Tim Ahles, one of the first American scientists to study cognitive side effects, acknowledges that studies have been too small to zero in on a cause. “So many factors affect cognitive function, and the kinds of cognitive problems associated with cancer treatment can be caused by many other things than chemotherapy,” says Dr. Ahles, the director of neurocognitive research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

At the same time chemo brain is actually a testimony to the vast progress made in the field of cancer care. Persons who would not have survived long ago are now alive due to the latest drugs and treatment. Hence it is obviously a due continuation of the life-saving work of cancer therapy, to delve more into this condition of chemo brain and help find a cure or management of the condition.

“A large number of people are living long and normal lives,” says Dr. Patricia Ganz, an oncologist at U.C.L.A. who is one of the nation’s first specialists in the late side effects of treatment. “It’s no longer enough to cure them. We have to acknowledge the potential consequences and address them early on.”

Till then patients have to depend on their inner strength as well as derive comfort from humor and true stories shared between cancer survivors.

Studies of cognitive effects have overwhelmingly been conducted among breast cancer patients because they represent, by far, the largest group of cancer survivors and because they tend to be sophisticated
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